Matriarchal Cultures: the Native American

2273 words 10 pages
Matriarchal Cultures: The Native American

There has long been debate among anthropologists about matriarchal societies. But that is a historical result of last 500 years of European military expansion and extermination of native cultures. There are a few societies whose status as matriarchies is disputed among anthropologists and this is as much a debate about terminology as it is about interpreting how another society defines status and such, their self-understanding as opposed to our imposition of categories on them. Among anthropologists, there are theories that support the plausibility of having prehistoric matriarchies. And if we look more at the complexity of societies, we're liable to find that the answer to why a
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According to Dozier (1971) Additionally, among such peoples as the Cherokee, Iroquois, and Pueblo, a disgruntled wife, secure in her possessions, could simply divorce her husband by tossing his belongings out of their residence. The Iroquois, Oneida, Onondaga, Cayuga, Mohawk, Seneca are a matriarchal societies. In the Iroquois community, women were the keepers of culture. They were responsible for defining the political, social, spiritual and economic norms of the tribe. Iroquois society was matrilineal, meaning descent was traced through the mother rather than through the father. Also, when a couple marries, the man traditionally went to live with the wife's family. Women's role in tribal governance was often influential in matrilineal societies, as among the Iroquois, in which the principal civil and religious offices were kept within maternal lineages. The tribal matriarch or a group of tribal matrons nominated each delegate, briefed him before each session, monitored his legislative record, and removed him from office if his conduct displeased the women. Although the leaders were men, it was the Clan Mothers who nominated and elected them, and could remove them from their position. The women made sure the male leadership fulfilled their responsibilities. Iroquois women enjoyed social equality and respect. The Seneca Native Americans were a matriarchal egalitarian culture in that the practice of

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