Sunday, July 22, 2012
When Pine Leaf's twin brother was killed by a member of the Blackfoot tribe, even though she was only a child, she vowed that she would never take a husband until she had personally killed a hundred enemy warriors. She was so serious about her commitment that the men of the Gros Ventre tribe (into which she was born in 1806) started training her in the art of war immediately.
At ten, she was captured by a Crow tribe, but her training continued. And by the time she reached adulthood, she was a legendary Crow warrior with many victories to her credit. Though she looked and dressed like the other women of the tribe, she ignored "womanly" duties to focus on honing her skills with the bow, the rifle, and the coup stick (a way of tallying up points for bravery by touching an enemy without injuring him or being injured yourself).
Her large herd of horses and many scalp locks demonstrating her fierceness in battle eventually got her voted onto the Council of Chiefs where her name became Woman Chief. Because of this, her lodge was ranked third out of 160 in the band and she had no less than four wives to take care of all her holdings. Ambushed and killed by Gros Ventre raiders in the mid-1800's, Pine Leaf was seen by Native Americans as one of those having two spirits (male and female). But maybe that's because they hadn't yet heard about in-your-face women.