Who Was Nancy Ward to the Cherokee Nation?


Quick Answer

Nancy Ward, also known as Nanye-hi, was the last in the Cherokee Nation to be named Ghighua, or Beloved Woman. She earned this title after she led a group to victory against the Creeks at the Battle of Taliwa.

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Full Answer

The Cherokee were a matriarchal society and Ghighua was the highest title a woman could attain. As Ghighua, Nanye-hi participated in the general council, led the woman's council and prepared tea for ceremonies. This title also meant she was the peace negotiator, and could pardon prisoners.

Nanye-hi attempted to bring peace between the Cherokee and settlers numerous times, for fear that without peace her people would be displaced forever. After pardoning Lydia Bean, a captured prisoner set for execution, Nanye-hi nursed her back to health. She learned about dairy and woven cloth from Lydia, and introduced both to the Cherokee. These led to a more European way of life for them.

As she aged, Nancy continued to promote peace for the Cherokee. She took in and cared for orphans, earning her the nickname "Granny Ward." Nancy Ward remains an inspiration for Cherokee and feminists to the day.

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