Kimberly Norris Guerrero

‘Cherokee Word for Water’ screenings set for next week in four communities

The cinematic story of the late Wilma Mankiller, the first modern female chief of the Cherokee Nation, will screen — free to the public — in four communities next week.

“The Cherokee Word for Water,” a feature film starring Kimberly Norris Guerrero as Mankiller, is set for these show times:

■ 7 p.m. Monday at the Wheeler Theater at Fort Worden State Park, 200 Battery Way, Port Townsend.

■ 7 p.m. Tuesday in Maier Performance Hall at Peninsula College, 1502 E. Lauridsen Blvd., Port Angeles.

■ 6:30 p.m. Wednesday at the Jamestown S’Klallam Community Center, 1033 Old Blyn Highway, Blyn.

■ 6:30 p.m. Thursday at the Quileute Tribal Building west wing, 90 Main St., LaPush.

Two people who worked alongside Mankiller for many years will attend all three screenings: Charlie Soap, the producer of the film, who was her husband; and co-producer Kristina Kiehl, a longtime organizer in the women’s movement who worked on Mankiller’s campaign.

The 2013 movie, set in the 1980s, highlights how a rural Cherokee community brought running water into families’ homes using the traditional concept of gadugi — working together to solve a problem.

It tells the story of how Mankiller brought water to the reservation by supervising the dig of an 18-mile pipe, something she was told was impossible, said Janette Force, executive director of the Port Townsend Film Festival, which is co-sponsoring the screenings.

Mankiller led the Cherokee Nation for a decade — from 1985 to 1995 — and co-founded the Political Action Committee Voters for Choice along with author and feminist Gloria Steinem.

Mankiller died of pancreatic cancer in 2010.

“The Cherokee Word for Water” is a film with “a beautiful voice,” said Force.

“It’s a fine example of why it matters to look beyond your fences and consider your neighbors.”

More information about the movie can be found at its website,

These screenings are co-sponsored by the Port Townsend Film Festival, the Jamestown S’Klallam Tribal Library, the Institute of Museum and Library Services, the Peninsula College House of Learning and the college’s Magic of Cinema program.

For more details about the Port Townsend and Jamestown screenings, phone the Port Townsend Film Festival at 360-379-1333, and for information about the Port Angeles showing, contact Peninsula College professor Helen Lovejoy at [email protected] or 360-417-6362.


Jefferson County editor Charlie Bermant contributed to this story.

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