Maria Tallchief, member of the Osage Nation and the first prima ballerina, dances onto U.S. quarters

When I learned about Maria Tallchief, I was so thrilled to know that someone from a small city in Oklahoma, which is where my father also came from, was able to rise up and become a prima ballerina, and to really be a leader in the space,” said Val Red-Horse, who directed a documentary about Wilma Mankiller, Cherokee’s first woman leader, who was also elected to be on the quarter in the same program. “I started out my entertainment career many, many years ago as a dancer . . . It is a very strong physical discipline that combines so many different disciplines. And when I think that Maria Tallchief achieved the status of really being considered America’s first prima ballerina . . .that is a huge achievement.”

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