We do not know how many Native American women were leaders in the colonial period, but the names of a few appear in white settlers’ accounts.
At least two sachems fought against the English in the mid-1670s in King Philip’s War: Weetamoo and Magnus.
Another sachem, Awashonks, decided that to protect her people during King Philip’s War she must honor an earlier agreement not to fight the English, so she helped the settlers.
A very important woman leader was Nanye-hi, also known as Nancy Ward. In 1755, after her husband was killed in battle, she took charge and led the Cherokees to a victory over Creek warriors.
Honored by the Cherokees as “Beloved Woman,” she headed an advisory group of women elders and was a member of the governing council of chiefs. She helped negotiate peace agreements with white settlers.
Like many Native American chiefs, she was surprised that no white women were allowed to negotiate.