Warrior Women: Lozen and Pine Leaf "Woman Chief"
Updated: Mar 27
Lozen was born around 1840 and was a member of the Chihenne Apache (Eastern Chiricahua) band. Lozen earned her name through her skill at sneaking behind enemy lines and absconding with their horses without being detected. As soon as Lozen was of age she fought with her people against Mexicans, scalp hunters, and eventually Americans who tried to take her homelands. When she went through her puberty rites she was given the ability to locate enemies and it is said she would walk in a circle with her hands lifted until her veins turned blue and told where enemies were. Lozen was a warrior who fought with her brother Victorio, and after his death spent time with Geronimo. Many believe if Lozen had been there Victorio wouldn't have died. When Geronimo surrendered and went to a Florida prison in 1886 she was among the others captured. She later died from tuberculosis at 50 years old.
To learn more about Lozen find the book “Warrior Woman: The Story of Lozen, Apache Warrior and Shaman”
Pine leaf, who some believe may also be referred to as Woman Chief, was born in 1806 into the Gros Ventres Tribe (White Clay) in what is known as Montana. At ten Pine Leaf was captured by members of the Crow tribe and adopted by a Crow warrior as his own daughter. The warrior who adopted her had sons who had died and encouraged her to pursue more “male” roles. Pine Leaf was a Two Spirit. Her adoptive father died some years later and a raid by Blackfoot Nation followed. She organized and lead the Crow Nation warriors on a very successful retaliatory raid. She went on to represent her lodge at the Council of Chiefs and was given the name Bíawacheeitchish or Woman Chief. She went on to take multiple wives and make her lodge important. She negotiated peace treaties with many neighboring tribes, including the tribe of her birth. She was later killed by raiders from the Gros Ventres Tribe in 1884 or 1885.
To learn more about Pine Leaf there are references to her in James Beckwourth's autobiography, the accuracy of Beckwourth's accounts are highly debated.