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Nanyehi (translates to “one who goes about”), also known as Nancy Ward (1738- 1822) was a “Beloved Woman” or “Ghigau” of the Cherokee tribe. With this title, she was allowed to sit on councils and make decisions for her people. She wanted a peaceful coexistence with the European Americans and functioned as an ambassador between her tribe and the new settlers.

She married Tsu-la” or “Kingfisher” who was a member of the Deer Clan. In the Battle of Taliwa (a land dispute between the Cherokee and Muscogee) Nanyehi chewed bullets for her husband so the jagged edges would cause maximum damage- when Tsu-la was killed, she picked up his rifle and kept fighting. The Cherokee people won the battle.

During one particular negotiation between the Cherokee and the settlers, Nanyehi was surprised that the Americans did not have any female negotiators… her quote: “You know that women are always looked upon as nothing; but we are your mothers; you are our sons. Our cry is all for peace; let it continue. This peace must last forever. Let your women’s sons be ours; our sons be yours. Let your women hear our words.”

She is remembered as an important figure to the Cherokee people but is also considered an early pioneer for women in American politics.

There is a more in-depth article on her life here: https://www.nwhm.org/education-resources/biography/biographies/nanye-hi-nancy-ward/