Essay on Women Of Native American Culture

Essay on Women Of Native American Culture

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Women in Native American culture had a very prominent role in intercultural relationships;

they held far more power and influence than their European counterparts. Europeans have long

used treaties written and signed by men to govern how relationships, trade and land are

developed. Indians have sought to develop kinship ties to to develop those same traits and

since many Indian cultures are matrilineal, women maintain a high status.

Women have been revered in Native American culture, perhaps this is most evident among

the Cherokee Nation. While men hunt for meat the women cultivated the crop especially corn.

Cherokees valued the corn so much that they held the Green Corn Ceremony to honor the corn

and the women who provided it.1 Women are so essential to Native American culture that

when Europeans first landed in North America they were met with opposition because they

came without women and some Indians perceived them as war parties.

Kinship ties were necessary to facilitate trading with the Native American tribes. The Indians

preferred to trade only with those who had family ties to the tribe. Often they created these

ties by having the European males marry one of their daughters. The plan seemingly worked,

for a while at least. However, the European males only married into the tribe out of necessity.

Since they were only doing it to merely survive in this new and treacherous world the marriages

were hardly taken seriously. Many times the men were still married in the Christian church to

women back home and had little no use to their new Indian wives. The Indians assumed that

the Europeans would be sincere in their marriage and form an allegiance to the tribe; which

they rarely did....


... middle of paper ...


...ew and improved world, they were not pawns. They controlled the land and any

children they had continued their lineage.

However, the Native Americans assumed that the European men would feel the same as

they did about these new family bonds. They were wrong. While, the kinship ties initially

seemed to work the Europeans never took them seriously and cut them off when it became

convenient or necessary to further their own agendas. The Indians could not foresee that

forcing the Europeans into marriages they did not want; in a religion they did not understand or

support would mean that they would not fully commit to the women, the children or the good

of the tribe. Because, the European men did not take the commitment to the tribe as seriously

as the Indians they were able to out maneuver them and render them unable to protect

themselves.


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