Film 3571: Women In American History

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HISTORY 3571 - Women in American History California State University East Bay; Karen Pare NATIVE AMERICAN WOMEN Source: Nancy Woloch, Early American Women: A Documentary History, 1600-1900 , 2nd Ed.,(Boston: McGraw Hill, 2002). “When Europeans compared Indian and white societies, they noted that women sometimes inherited leadership roles in their tribes and that, in the unique case of the Iroquois, some women played a prominent role in government. In practice, the formal authority that Iroquois tribes granted to women was subordinate to that of male chiefs and the village council of elders. Still, the Iroquois matrons had a legitimate voice in public affairs, which neither European women—nor most other Indian women—could claim” (p. 12). This passage shows that GENDER ROLES ARE RELATIVE (that is, related to the beliefs of a specific society) – AND ARE NOT DICATED BY “NATURE,” BUT ARE CREATED BY PEOPLE, AND THEREFORE CAN BE CHANGED. Relate this to the Introduction to Women’s America where the authors discuss gender. WHAT DO WE MEAN WHEN WE USE THE WORD “GENDER?” It means characterizing of the sexes. HOW IS “GENDER” DIFFERENT FROM “SEX?” Gender refers to masculine or feminine characteristics and behaviors of male and female. Sex refers to…show more content…
Nancy Wolloch wrote about this document : “de Charlevoix, a Jesuit priest who traveled from Quebec to the Gulf of Mexico, described the civic roles of Iroquoian-speaking Huron women in a letter in 1721. Among these Indians, Charlevoix points out, the role of chief was inherited through the female line. Older women selected and unseated male chiefs, served as assistants to chiefs, and oversaw the public treasury. Debating issues separately, the women also had their own representative, or orator, to express their views to the all-male council of elders.”
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