m. 1752 Chota, Tennessee
Facts and Events
Nanye'hi the Ghi-ga-u was a full blood Cherokee of the Wolf Clan. Her first husband, Kingfisher, of the Deer Clan, was the father of her first two children--Catherine and Fivekiller. In a battle with the Muskogees, Kingfisher was killed and his wife, who had been laying behind a log chewing bullets so the they would lacerate a victim more severely; picked up his rifle and fought as a warrior throughout the rest of the skirmish. The Muskogees were defeated and according to custom the captured spoils were divided among the victors. Nanye'hi, Kingfisher's widow, was given a negro slave that had been captured from the vanquished Muskogees and, in this manner, she became the first slave owner among the Cherokees and by common consent she became Ghi-ga-u, or Beloved Woman of the Cherokees. This lifetime distinction was only granted as an extreme honor of valorous merit and carried with it the right to speak, vote, and act in all of peace and war councils of the Cherokees. It also vested her with the supreme pardoning power of the tribe, a perogative that was not granted to any other, not even the powerful peace or war chiefs. Ghi-ga-u was described even after she was an old woman as a person of remarkable beauty and poise, "with a queenly and commanding presence."