Gender Roles In Native Americans

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Although Native Americans are characterized as both civilized and uncivilized in module one readings, their lifestyles and culture are observed to be civilized more often than not. The separate and distinct duties of men and women (Sigard, 1632) reveal a society that has defined roles and expectations based on gender. There are customs related to courtship (Le Clercq, 1691) that are similar to European cultures. Marriage was a recognized union amongst Native Americans, although not necessarily viewed as a serious, lifelong commitment like the Europeans (Heckewelder, 1819). Related to gender roles in Native American culture, Sigard writes of the Huron people that “Just as the men have their special occupation and understand wherein a man’s duty consists, so also the women and girls keep their place and perform quietly their little tasks and functions of service”. He also observed that “They usually do more work than the men, although they are not forced or compelled to do so” (1632). Gender roles in European society were also well defined in this era. Women handled household chores and cared for the children while men hunted to provide for their families, fought in wars, and had more rights and freedom than women. It is difficult to determine if Native American men had more rights than women, although it appears from the documents that they did have more free time. A noticeable difference between the Huron women and Native Americans in colonial Pennsylvania, however, was

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