The Book of Awesome Women/Womane Chief
December 12

The Book of Awesome Women/Womane Chief

The Blog of Awesome Women

Boundary Breakers, Freedom Fighters, Sheroes and Female Firsts

Woman Chief


By unknown, scan from The Life and Adventures of James P. Beckwourth, edited by Thomas D. Bonner, Harper & Brothers Publishers, New York, 1856, Public Domain.

Woman Chief, the “Absaroka Amazon,” was a Gros Ventre girl raised by the Crow tribe who captured her in a hunt shortly after her birth, estimated to have been in 1806. Like Shoshone Sacajawea, without whom Lewis and Clark would have made the Donner Party look like a walk in the park, Woman Chief was a highly skilled hunter, guide, negotiator, and translator, who specialized in buffalo hunting, horse thieving, and close-range battle. Her reputation swelled to mythic proportion when she killed and wounded several men in her first skirmish. Her fellow warriors sang songs in her honor, and she made for hot fireside chat. As a hunter, she was reputed as “capable of killing five buffalo during a hunt and then butchering them and loading them on to packhorses singlehandedly.” Her sleight-of-hand style of horse trading won her a place on the Council of Chiefs and the title of Woman Chief. She was murdered by a Gros Ventre warrior in the middle of negotiations for peace she was undertaking between the Crows and her native tribe.

This excerpt is from The Book of Awesome Women by Becca Anderson, which is available now through Amazon and Mango Media.


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