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Nancy Ward
By Kathleen Redman
  

1     Ghighau (Beloved Woman), Wild Rose of the Cherokee, War Woman, and Granny Ward are a few of the names and titles given to Nancy Ward, the most powerful and influential woman of the Cherokee Nation in recorded history. She ruled over the Council of Women and had a voting seat in the Council of Chiefs.

Nancy Ward was born in 1738 at Chota and was given the name Nanye-hi that means "one who goes about." The name of her father is not known, but Cherokee society was matrilineal. Nanye-hi's mother was Tame Doe, of the Wolf Clan, a sister of Attakullakulla, civil chief of the Cherokee Nation.

By age 17 she had two children, Five Killer and Catherine. Her husband was killed in a raid on the Creeks, where she fought by her husband's side, chewing the lead bullets for his rifle to make them more deadly. When he fell in battle, she rallied the Cherokee warriors to fight harder. Taking up a rifle, she led a charge that unnerved the Creeks and brought victory to the Cherokees.

Because of her valor, the clans chose her as Ghighau, "Beloved Woman" of the Cherokees. In this powerful position, her words carried much weight in the tribal government because the Cherokees believed that the Great Spirit frequently spoke through the Beloved Woman. She was loved and respected by the settlers as well as the Cherokees. She had absolute power over prisoners and on numerous occasions saved the lives of white people. On at least two occasions during the Revolutionary War period she sent warnings to John Sevier at the Watauga settlements of planned Indian attacks, thus .....
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