How Have the Roles of Women Changed in Native Communities?

How Have the Roles of Women Changed in Native Communities?

Sonny Skyhawk
12/9/11

Women have always played an integral part in decisions, such as when the tribe moved from one place to another and even who was selected to certain societies. Not until modern times have women been selected to take the position of "Chief" and been given equal stature to men in their tribes. Recent examples have been Wilma Mankiller of the Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma, and Marge Anderson of the Mille Lacs Band of Ojibwe. Sky Woman was the first to appear in the Creation stories of Eastern tribes, whereas for Plains tribes it was Buffalo Calf Woman who became the spiritual guide. By most standards and amongst most tribes, women made the decisions due to their knowledge as keepers of tradition and ceremony and their demeanor; women were the decision makers and the men carried out the decision and received the credit. Women were also held in the highest esteem due to their sole power of procreation.

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canucee's picture
canucee
Submitted by canucee on
Um, wait, what? "Not until modern times have women been selected to take the position of “Chief” and been given equal stature to men in their tribes." Perhaps it's just me needing stronger coffee this mid-day but I'm hearing two different things here. I hear you clearly and do believe, as you say, "Women have always played an integral part in decisions as in when the tribe moved to another place and who was selected to certain societies." Sky Woman (an awesome beautiful Pendleton baby blanket design of this name, I add) "was the first to appear in the Creation stories of Eastern tribes ," and "for Plains tribes it was Buffalo Calf Woman who became the spiritual guide. Amongst most tribes, women were the decision makers and the men carried out the decision and received the credit." So, Sunny Skyhawk, whose column Ask N NDN I have liked since it first appeared here in ICT, and am liking more and more over time, what is meant by "Not until modern times have women...been given equal stature to men in their tribes"? By whom? If there's all this historical stature? Do you mean perhaps that Native women were not given stature in a political sense in relation to non-Native government and society(ies)? If so, an additional word or two or a punctuation of some sort separating the ambiguous sentence, "Not until modern times have women been selected to take the position of “Chief” and been given equal stature to men in their tribes," might be a good edit for clarification. Or maybe it's just me and my ho-hum coffee that needs a good edit. Cx San Diego/Phoenix USA

nighteagle's picture
nighteagle
Submitted by nighteagle on
the daughter of grand sachem wyandanch was a chief of the montauk indian nation in and or around 1659 to 1663 women always elected there chiefs! prior to that she was the sachem of the shinnecock indian nation! she was known as quashawam! there still is an argument as to whether she was catoneras who was my 16th. great grandmother! she also was a princess and sachem!so they didnt just get the power! nighteagle!
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