Published on April 15, 2012 by Amy
Hanging Cloud (Ojibwa name Ah-shah-way-gee-she-go-qua (Aazhawigiizhigokwe in the contemporary spelling), meaning “Goes Across the Sky Woman”) was an Ojibwa woman who was a full warrior (ogichidaakwe in Ojibwe) among her people, and claimed by the Wisconsin Historical Society as the only woman to ever become one. She was the daughter of Chief Nenaa’angebi (Beautifying Bird) and his wife Niigi’o. Aazhawigiizhigokwe was of the Niibinaabe-doodem (Merman Clan), of the Prairie Rice Lake Band of Lake Superior Chippewa. Her Band became part of the Lac Courte Oreilles Band of Lake Superior Chippewa Indians after the 1854 Treaty of La Pointe.
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According to Morse, Aazhawigiizhigokwe wore war paint, carried full weapons, and took part in battles, raids and hunting parties. She was a full member of the war council, performed war dances, and participated in all warrior ceremonies. Shortly after father’s death in 1855, her village was ambushed by her Mdewakanton uncle, Chief Shák’pí. In this ambush, she defended her village and killed a son of Chief Shák’pí, her cousin. Armstrong recorded how she was very proud of that period of her life.
Aazhawigiizhigokwe lived near Rice Lake, Wisconsin. She became the wife of Edward Dingley in 1857, and had a son. Her husband served in the Union Army during the American Civil War but when assumed dead, she remarried. After the War, when her first husband returned to Wisconsin and heard of his wife’s remarriage, they made arrangements to meet with each other and agreed to let her maintain her second marriage. She worked for many years as a housekeeper for a local lumber baron. She died in 1919.