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   Book Synopsis
 


The historical novel, Woman War Chief, tells the true story a female Native American warrior who rose through the ranks of her tribe to became a Crow chief. Born in the Atsina tribe in 1800, the girl named Shining Sun was abducted by some River Crow hunters. For the rest of her life she lived with the River Crow, people who were also known as the Sparrow Hawks.

Ten years old when captured, the precocious girl lied to her Crow captors, telling them she was actually a Crow child who had been previously abducted by the Atsina. Because she could speak some of their language, most of them believed her. She then convinced her mentors that she would become a better hunter and warrior than a lodge woman. Renamed Pine Leaf, she lived her full and eventful life in the Wyoming and Montana territories, mostly around the Yellowstone River Valley.

About 1828, a black mountain man named James Beckwourth (a.k.a. James Beckwith), a trapper on contract with the American Fur Company, decided to live with the River Crow. Pine Leaf competed with and fought alongside Jim for nearly ten years. Near the end of this time, she and Jim had a stormy relationship which ended when Jim left the Crow. Jim later dictated Woman Chief's early exploits to historian Thomas Bonner. Several Web sites contain information about James Beckwourth; visit www.beckwourth.org to read more about this famous mountain man.

A fierce warrior and successful hunter, Pine Leaf became famous among other Native Americans, foreign trappers, traders, explorers, and just about anyone north west of St. Louis at the time. After her fighting prowess and prudent decisions elevated her to positions of authority, her people changed her name from Pine Leaf to Woman Chief. Eventually she became a war chief and a major figure in the Crow Nation. She knew many legendary figures like Bill Williams, Kit Carson, John Fremont and Jim Bridger. All of these people are mentioned in the book, Woman War Chief, because they all figured in Woman Chief's life.

After the Horse Creek Peace Treaty of 1854, Woman Chief decided to visit the Atsina, the tribe of her original family. Edward Denig, in charge of the Fort Union Trading Post, warned her not to make the trip. Her own people warned her not to go because of the bad blood between the two tribes. But she was determined to visit them, and as always, she did what she had a mind to. The treacherous Atsina greeted her in an unexpected manner.


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The real life adventures of a Crow Warrior called
WOMAN WAR CHIEF

    Woman War Chief is a historical novel about a female warrior who became a Crow chief. Born in the Atsina tribe in 1800, the girl was abducted by River Crow hunters when she was 10 years old. The precocious child told her captors that she was actually a Crow child who had been abducted years before by the Atsina. Because she could speak some Crow, they believed her lie. She grew up to become a chief and a major figure in the Crow Nation.
    A fierce warrior and hunter, she became famous among Native Americans and white men alike. She knew Bill Williams, Kit Carson, John Fremont and Jim Bridger; all of these characters have a part in the telling of her story.
    Around 1828, a black mountain man named Jim Beckwith joined the River Crow. Jim fought alongside Woman Chief for nearly ten years. She and Jim had an eventful and stormy relationship before Jim left the Crow (and his many wives) in 1838.


 
 

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