WEEK THREE--Nancy Ward
b. 1738; d. 1822
Because Ward was a "War Woman," she was able to speak in Cherokee council. Recall the information conveyed in the prefatory material of your text: she gained the "elevated position" of War Woman because she "joined a battle against the Creeks when her husband was killed." Thus, Ward proved herself as a woman warrior, yet the rhetoric in her speech and petitions stresses her role as a mother, nurturer, and protector. So, warrior-identity and mother-identity are not mutually exclusive in her culture -- can you describe how these roles complement each other? What evidence of the relationship between the two do you see in her speeches?
Ward attempts to establish relationships of kinship in her addresses to the U.S. government, in a different way than -- for example -- Pontiac does. What is the difference? How does she address the other nation's political leaders?
Clara Sue Kidwell, in her Ethnohistory essay entitled "Indian Women as Cultural Mediators," explains that Ward, during the Revolutionary War, served as a mediator between the Overhill Cherokees, the white settlers in the Watauga Valley, and the British and American governments. "As a beloved woman and councilor at the traditional Cherokee peace town," writes Kidwell, "[Ward] was committed to preserving peace." What evidence of her strategies of "negotiation" between cultures do you detect in her speech and petitions? How does she employ the rhetoric of motherhood in the service of her arguments for peace?
In class, we discussed the challenges associated with reconciling "tradition" and "progress." Ward did embrace certain Euro-American ideas of "progress" and she tacitly objected to others. Can you name a few examples? What traditions of the Cherokee were to her of utmost importance?