A new U.S. quarter released on Monday features Cherokee leader Wilma Mankiller, who was the first woman in the United States to lead a major tribal nation and dedicated her life to fighting for Indigenous people.

The U.S. Mint honored Mankiller as part of its “American Women Quarters Program,” which recognizes trailblazing American women. She is the third woman to be honored, according to USA Today.

“Even years after her passing, Chief Mankiller is still making an impact,” Cherokee Nation Principal Chief Chuck Hoskin Jr. said at an event celebrating the release of the coin, per Native News Online.

A new quarter released on Monday, June 6, 2022, features American icon Wilma Mankiller, who was the first female chief of Cherokee Nation. | U.S. Mint

Who are the other women on the U.S. quarters?

The other women the program has featured include writer and activist Maya Angelou and astronaut Dr. Sally Ride, who was the first American woman to go to space, according to USA Today.

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On the “tails” side of the quarter, the new coin depicts Mankiller in a traditional Indigenous shawl, as well as the Cherokee Nation seven-pointed star and “Cherokee Nation” inscribed in Cherokee syllabary, per USA Today. George Washington is still depicted on the other side.

What is Wilma Mankiller’s legacy?

During Mankiller’s tenure as chief, she is credited with “tripling the Cherokee Nation’s tribal enrollment, doubling employment and the development of new housing, health centers and children’s programs,” according to Native News Online.

Mankiller received the Presidential Medal of Freedom from former President Bill Clinton. She is remembered for signing a historic agreement in 1990 that allowed the Cherokee Nation to self-govern and manage federal funding within the nation as a recognized governing entity, per CNN.

“Her likeness is being struck on the quarter because she keeps changing the world for the better,” Hoskin said, per Native News Online.

In 2010, Mankiller died from pancreatic cancer but continues to impact the world with her influence and dedication, according to CNN.

The coins can be purchased on the U.S. Mint website, and will soon be in circulation and remain in circulation until 2025, per USA Today.

When will Harriet Tubman be on the $20 bill?

In 2014, a 9-year-old girl wrote a letter to then-President Barack Obama suggesting abolitionist Harriet Tubman replace Andrew Jackson on the $20 bill.

After coming to the decision that Tubman would indeed be featured on the $20 bill, it still looks like it will be 2030 by the time that dream is realized, according to The Washington Post.

Why is it taking so long? Part of the delay comes down to how currency bills are made. Bills are printed in a way to make them counterfeit proof, so more vetting is involved from the federal government, per The Washington Post.

It’s more expensive to reproduce counterfeit coins that could pass as legitimate coins, so rolling out the quarters program is happening much more quickly than the new face of the $20 bill, according to The Washington Post.

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