Gender Roles In The Native American Tribe

817 Words4 Pages
Gender roles have been a popular yet sensitive topic for thousands of years. It has seemed that since the earliest of days, men always had more rights than women, but was that always true? Has equality between men and women gotten closer or only spread farther apart through the years? History has taught us that in certain civilizations and/or tribes, women had just as many rights as men did, or they had no rights and were only seen as a man’s wife who had to cook and clean after him. The Native American group, the Algonkians, proved that gender roles translated into economic, social, and political power. In the seventeenth century, the Native American tribe, the Algonkians, were fair on gender equality and gave women jobs and positions in…show more content…
“People changed village association depending on resource supplies, available land, and family composition.” These native people almost acted as nomads as they packed everything up they owned, and moved to a different location seasonally in order to better service themselves. During the summer, they would move near the seashores in small family groups for the women in their lives who would collect shellfish such as clams, oysters, and lobsters. In the fall they would migrate to the forests for the men, who were responsible for hunting deer. They would reside in stockade villages containing 300-400 residents. In certain tribes, social status was also influenced by gender roles. The Narragansetts and Pequots clans assigned social identity and controlled descent and marriage based off of the mother’s bloodline. Other clans such as the Mohegan’s, descent was based through either a father or a mother’s bloodline. Between the two, gender roles translated heavily into social status for the Native American tribes in the seventeenth…show more content…
“Village leadership was vested in a chief, or “sachem,” whose position tended to be inherited through patrilineal lines.” As in most historical hierarchy’s, a father could pass down his throne to his son, this was still the case in the seventeenth century, but because of the Algonkian tribe, there was now another option as an heir. “Claims of rights to inherit could also be made by appealing to matrilineal descent. Women too could now also assume sachemships.” The Algonkian tribe revolutionized gender roles in their society and we saw this especially when they gave women a chance to assume sachemships and become “chief” over their own people, both men and women. Sachems were looked to as leaders and advisors who had influence and authority in their own marked territory. They were limited in their powers as they could not make decisions independently: they must have advised their peers before making any decision. Unfortunately, not all people saw the prosperity in women sachems and often moved to live under different sachems who they believed could protect

More about Gender Roles In The Native American Tribe

Open Document