Motherhood In Leslie Marmon Silko's Gardens In The Dunes

1993 Words8 Pages
Native American cultures, such as the Sand Lizard tribe described in Leslie Marmon Silko’s novel, Gardens in The Dunes, have a matrilineal foundation. In Native American cultures women play a vital role, because of their ability to have, raise, and instruct children on how to survive in the world. In native cultures women are respected and often compared to the earth itself, because the people feel they share similar abilities to nurture and sustain human life. In these Native American cultures “motherhood” applies to all women in the community, and not just biological mothers. The Native American cultures rely on women, and in some cases even those women who are outside their culture, to be mothers figures and pass onto their children the…show more content…
They do this with the attitude of any means necessary. In the novel the women realize they are the last remnants of a dying culture and find it their responsibility to try and revive the culture by producing children who will remember the old traditions. In the white dominant culture, people are obsessed with maintaining a “pure” and all white blood line, in order to pass on their culture. This isn’t the case for Native Americans, especially the Sand Lizard tribe in the novel. Silko captures this openness to other races by saying, “Sand Lizard mothers gave birth to Sand Lizard babies no matter what man they lay with” (204). This quote summarizes the main idea that any child of a Sand Lizard mother is a part of the Sand Lizard tribe no matter whom or what ethnicity their father…show more content…
In Native American cultures women play a vital role, because of their ability to have, raise, and instruct children on how to survive in the world. Women are often associated with the earth because they both produce life and that is why many Native American cultures say “Mother Earth.” Motherhood in Native American cultures isn’t the sole responsibility for an individual. Rather all women within the community, not just the biological mother, care and raise the children so that they survive long enough to reproduce and sustain the life of the culture. Native women, due to a violent history of rape and prostitution have learned to accept all children they create into their culture and raise them in the same aspect of children not born through assault. This acceptance shows how the practice of motherhood in native cultures extends beyond ethnical boundaries. Women, because of their physical capability to be mothers play a very important role in defining Native American cultures. Without women in Native American cultures, or any culture for that matter, the world would have no hope for a future generation and therefore no hope at

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