Nanye'hi saw her husband die in a battle with Creek Indians. She took up her husband's bow and arrow and led her Cherokee tribe to victory. Nancy Ward, as Americans called her, was named "Beloved Woman" by the tribe, and made the head of the Women's Council and a member of the Council of Chiefs.
With the Revolutionary War in progress, the British paid Indians to attack settlers. Deborah's tribe joined in. But, Deborah had made friends with the settlers. She warned them of the attack. The victorious settlers spared her tribe when they retaliated. Later in the war, Deborah had to once again warn settlers of impending attack. She also served as a mediator, becoming a main voice in the Treaty of Hopewell in 1785 between the Cherokee and settlers.