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Woman Chief

from Chapter 9 --

The green-grass season passed peacefully enough and as the brown-grass season began, Pine Leaf was finally inducted into the young Hammer Owner society. She outran nearly all of the young boys and shot her arrows as accurately as the best. She outraced her competitors when she rode Thunder and was quickly selected by any team conducting a mock battle or counting coup on small game animals. Because she was not as strong as the older boys, and could not wrestle competitively with them, she relied upon her agile mind. The war club became her favorite weapon and she practiced relentlessly.

from Chapter 20 --

After the Sparrow Hawks crossed branches of the Little Bighorn, they moved southeast toward the Tongue. Here Pine Leaf took a side trip to her sacred rock pillar to tell the spirit of Cracked-Ice about her new war weapons. Bow, arrows, quiver

"Now, my brother," she said, "I will be more capable of my promise to slay one hundred of our enemies to avenge your death. I have remained a virgin in your honor and I do not intend to ever marry. I will carry your spirit with me as I continue to live the life of a Sparrow Hawk brave. It is my desire to become the greatest warrior our people have ever seen." After several hours of prayer and conversation with the spirit of Cracked-Ice, Pine Leaf rode hard to catch up with her moving people.

The Sparrow Hawks headed east to the Powder then ascended Spotted Horse Creek to the head of Horse Creek; after descending the Little Powder they established a base camp. Scouts soon returned to the newly established village to report that they had seen buffalo on the grasslands to the east. Camp police held the excited people in check as the chief and council designed a plan for the hunt. They also developed a defense plan for the village, since they were outside their home grounds of Absaroka.

"We are now close to the sacred hills of the Teton Sioux and their allies, the Cheyenne," said Chief Rotten Belly, "so our hunters must remain vigilant." The hunters were excited to get going, but they also understood the gravity of the situation.

"Pine Leaf," he said, "you will take fifty Big Dogs to act as scouts and defenders of the buffalo surround. Yellow Belly, you will lead the actual surround. Grizzly Bear, you will be in charge of defending our camp. Good hunting!"


Text excerpts from Woman War Chief © by Jerry A. Matney

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