Native American Colonization

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When analyzing Native American societies, one looks at how Natives changed because of colonization. This focus on change has led many historians to forget about continuity and how Natives kept their cultural traditions alive. Instead of looking at change in Native societies, historians have started to look at how Natives adapted to the changing world around their society. One important aspect to understand when analyzing Native society through change and continuity is that societies are not stagnant and are constantly evolving. The story of the rise in colonization and decline of Native control over land is not a story of assimilation, but of adaption. In Cherokee Women by Theda Perdue argues that Cherokee women are examples of continuity.…show more content…
She furthers this argument by stating, “Among the many battles to control their own political and economic affairs were efforts to preserve institutions safeguarding social rights of women: property and inheritance customs, marriage and divorce, and matrilineal descent.” This quote illustrates the importance of women in this society and the attempts that were made to preserve their culture. The main aspect colonizers focused on was an attempt to change gender roles in Iroquois society and give more power to men. There was a slight shift in farming, as the Natives began leasing out their land to others and women began doing more work in the home. Men did not become farmers and they focused primarily on trade. The Seneca did create a written form of constitution that limited women’s influence in politics, but women were allowed to create petitions to ensure their voice was heard. Similar to the Cherokee, these changes were subtle and women in these societies were still able to persevere. Furthermore, the impact of colonization was different in the Chinookan…show more content…
Gender, Sexuality, Race, and Social Change on the Lower Columbia River, 1805-1838), Whaley focuses on three institutions that impacted Chinookan society: prostitution, intermarriage, and interracial sexuality outside of marriage. Whaley further explains this by stating, “As any instance of colonialism is shaped by individual interactions, personal relations embodied in three “institutions” were among the most important site of negotiations of power in native-colonial world along the lower Columbia River through the 1830s.” This quote illustrates the importance of these “institutions” on native and colonial interactions. Native women became a commodity used during trade and marriage was beneficial in ensuring better trade through kinship ties. The rise in prostitution through these exchanges led to veneral disease and often women being enslaved to fulfill these needs. Marriage was important for women who had a higher status, while women who were of a lower status were used as sex slaves. The spread of disease led to a decline in prostitution and a rise in marriages during this time. This societies interaction created change as women were used to obtain trade goods and the change continued as intermarriage became the focus. This change from prostitution to marriage and use of prostitution for trade goods shows the Chinookan society adapting to the needs of the tribe. The importance of kinship ties remained after the spread of disease. Mostly change
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