"My name is Dawnstar. I was leader of ShadowClan many seasons ago. I give you a life for putting ShadowClan above all others. There are four Clans in the forest, but ShadowClan will always be the greatest."
Dawnstar is a lean creamy-brown she-cat with green eyes.
Dawnstar was an ancient ShadowClanleader in the forest territories, and her deputy and medicine cat were Snaketail and Molepelt, respectively. When SkyClan was driven out of their home, Dawnstar agreed with the other leaders and refused to let them have their land, not wanting to sacrifice precious territory. However, she realized her mistake once she reached StarClan. She gave Raggedpelt a life for putting his Clan above everything else, and later gave Leafdapple a life. During the she-cat's leader ceremony, Dawnstar and the other leaders apologized to Cloudstar for not saving SkyClan and driving them out of the forest.
She tells Swiftstar, the WindClan leader, that the Gathering cannot start because SkyClan hasn't arrived yet. Upon arriving, Dawnstar warmly welcomes them. When Cloudstar asks for more territory since SkyClan's home has been destroyed by Twolegs, Dawnstar refuses, saying that ShadowClan is the biggest of all the Clans, so they need every paw step of ground they have to supply them with prey.
Much later, Dawnstar appears at Leafstar's leadership ceremony with the other leaders at the time of SkyClan's departure: Swiftstar, Redstar, and Birchstar. She tells Cloudstar that ShadowClan is very sorry for their actions. Dawnstar states that the Clans had good reasons for what they did, but she regrets that they caused so much suffering for Cloudstar and his Clanmates. Firestar is astonished that such a graceful she-cat could be leader of ShadowClan; the Clan who seems to be the most troublesome in the forest, currently. He believes that perhaps ShadowClan was most likely different back then, and has the potential to change again.
Dawnstar gives Leafstar a life, with the gift of determination, to use to set her paws on the path of what she knows to be right. Dawnstar then tells Firestar that she and the other leaders thought they had to drive SkyClan away for the sake of their own Clans, but admits that it was a mistake.
Although unnamed, Dawnstar is mentioned by Firestar, when the old ThunderClan leader is talking to Bramblestar about SkyClan. He says that the leaders of ThunderClan, WindClan, ShadowClan, and RiverClan had to deal with the consequences of their actions after being responsible for driving out SkyClan. Firestar goes on to tell Bramblestar that each of these leaders had come to visit Leafstar during her leadership ceremony, and in turn, gave her a life. Firestar says that this served as not only an apology, but a reminder that one Clan is not able to survive alone.
Although not mentioned by name, it is mentioned on Cloudstar’s and Skywatcher’s page that when Twoleg dens started to destroy SkyClan's territory, Cloudstar looked to his rival Clans to help him and his Clan survive. Instead, Dawnstar and the other leaders protested that sharing territory would be impossible, that SkyClan could not catch different prey, and that if there were only four Great Oaks in the hollow, perhaps there were only meant to be four Clans.