September 19, 2011

Wilma Mankiller movie

Filming to begin Sept. 26 in Tahlequah on Wilma Mankiller movie “The Cherokee Word for Water”

By Brandy Bam McDonnellThe Oklahoma Film & Music Office and the producers of “The Cherokee Word for Water,” a Mankiller Project LLC production, announced Friday evening that pre-production for the film has started in Tahlequah. Principal photography is scheduled to begin Sept. 26 and last for four weeks. Shooting locations include the city of Tahlequah and its surrounding areas, according to the announcement from the state film office.

“The Cherokee Word for Water” will be a feature-length motion picture inspired by the true story of the struggle, opposition, and ultimate success of a rural community to bring running water to their families by using the Cherokee concept of gadugi–working together to solve a problem. The movie is told from the perspective of Wilma Mankiller, the first female principal chief of the Cherokee Nation, and Charlie Soap, a full-blood Cherokee organizer and community advocate. The completion of the waterline and its success sparked a movement of similar self-help projects across the Cherokee nation and in Indian country that continues to this day.

“Wilma worked for decades to improve the quality of life for Indian people in this country,” says Charlie Soap, who became Mankiller’s husband in 1986 and remained her community development partner for more than 30 years, in the news release. “She cared deeply that Native and non-Native people see the positive side of our communities and wanted to leave a legacy that shows the resilience of Indian people.”

The film is committed to using American Indian talent both behind and in front of the camera, and will employ and train many American Indian people during all phases of production. Additionally, a majority of profits from the film will go back into community and economic development projects in Indian Country.
And:Award-winning actress Kimberly Norris Guererro (Cherokee, Salish-Kootenai, and enrolled Colville), a native Oklahoman, will play the role of Wilma Mankiller. Kimberly has appeared in numerous film and television projects including “Hidalgo,” “Dreamkeeper,” “The Sopranos,” “Charmed,” “Escanaba in Da Moonlight,” “Northern Exposure,” and she is best known for her immortalizing turn in the highly acclaimed television series “Seinfeld” as Jerry’s girlfriend “Winona” in the episode entitled “The Cigar Store Indian.” For more about the actress, go to

Actor, musician and motivational speaker Moses J. Brings Plenty (Oglala Lakota) will play Charlie Soap. Mo can currently be seen on Spike TV’s “Deadliest Warrior: Crazy Horse v. Pancho Villa” and in the DreamWorks actioner “Cowboys & Aliens.” He has been in several film, television and theatre productions that include “Rez Bomb,” “Hidalgo” and “Pirates of the Caribbean” and he has appeared in a number of The History Channel’s movies such as “Comanche Warrior,” where he played the role of Quanah Parker and also in “Who Killed Crazy Horse” as Crazy Horse. For more on the actor, go to
Facebook page for the movie:

The Cherokee Word for Water

Comment:  For more on Wilma Mankiller, see First Drum Awards Announced and Cherokee Commemorative Pins.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

As an older native man, I have to say that Indian women are politically more active and socially more aware than Indian men these days. Not since the seventies have Indian men stepped up and fought for Indian rights and issues.

This new generation of Indian men just want to sit back and let their mothers and wives do their paperwork while the guys just braid their hair or date white guys.

It is no accident that Indian country has taken big steps backwards.

Wilma Mankiller is and was awesome. Bless her soul, but for the Cherokees of Oklahoma today, I want to know, "whats the Cherokee word for slavery?"