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Pine Leaf

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Pine Leaf {1806–1858) was a woman and chief of the Crow tribe who counted coup in the 1830s. James Beckwourth describes her in his autobiography as well as Edwin T. Denig mentions her in his chronicle on the tribes of the upper Missouri river.

She was born to the Gros Ventres and at the age of about ten years taken prisoner by raiding Crows. She grew up in this tribe and showed a disposition to assume masculine habits. While always dressing in female clothing, she was learned in horse keeping, hunting and warfare, mostly against the Blackfoot. It was claimed she had four women to help her with household chores because of her status and needs as chief and got a strong voice in the tribes council, ranking the third person in the whole tribe of 160 lodges. In 1854 she was killed by Gros Ventres Indians near Fort Union.

Beckwourth describes her as a fearsome warrior, and claims that as a child she took a vow to kill at least one hundred enemies by her own hand. He further describes the adventures he wants to have experienced at her side, including a romantic relationship and marrying her immediately before he left the Crows.[1] It is possible that Beckwourth may have exaggerated this relationship, as historian Bernard DeVoto wrote that Beckwourth is reliable save for three areas: numbers, romance, and his own importance.

References Edit

  1. Thomas D. Bonner (Ed.): The Life and Adventures of James P. Beckwourth, Harper & Brothers, New York, 1856, p. 201–203, 403


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