Women's Role In The Iroquois Society

1264 Words6 Pages
The Role of Women in Seneca (Iroquois) Society Full Circle Anthropologic studies of culture are about observation through a lens that is defined by the observer. In order for it to be free of bias, the observer needs to remove any and all preconceived notions and their own ’world’ references while functioning ‘emically’(Kottak 2013). Part of the observer’s job is to look into the past and present, reconciling roles within that culture (Kottak 2013). Gender roles are an important area of study (Kottak 2013). In the study of roles of female and males within a society, some early tradesmen, scholars and observers often overlooked women’s roles when addressing Native American culture (Mann 2000). However, looking back at early settlers,…show more content…
Noel explains how Lafitau observed the importance and hegemony in the Iroquois society. She references his book Moeurs Des Sauvages Amériquains written in 1724, before the Europeans came to colonize. Noel quoted him as stating: “All real authority is vested in them. The land, the fields and their harvest belong to them. They are the souls of the Councils, the arbiters of peace and war.” Specifically, he went on to say women were in charge of the finances, marriages, slaves and children. Anthropologist and author Ronald Viau supports these claims, Noel explains, in his book Femmes de Personne: Sexes, genres et pouvoirs en Iroquoisie ancienne. Viau stated that the Iroquois society had the closest definition of matriarchy in anthropology. He noted that women were older than males in marriage and they worked together for healing and spiritual…show more content…
The Committee was instrumental in providing a ‘model farm at Cattaraugus’ and a school to help maintain territory for the Seneca Nation (Wagner 1996). After spending time among the Seneca women in Cattaraugus, Mott witnessed the structure of their system and was stirred to hold the ‘first women 's rights convention’ in the world at Seneca Falls (Wagner 1996). Mott along with her feminist colleagues, through observation and interaction found that, “the Native American conception of everyday decency, nonviolence, and gender justice” ideals to be a steppingstone to women’s freedom (Wagner 1996). Furthermore Audrey Shenandoah, a clan mother of the Onondaga nation, spoke with Sally Roesch Wagner in the 1990’s about the role of woman in the modern day,

More about Women's Role In The Iroquois Society

Open Document