A Necessary Balance: Gender and Power Among Indians of the by Lillian A. Ackerman

By Lillian A. Ackerman

Many local American cultures have lengthy handled men and women as equals. In A important Balance, Lillian A. Ackerman examines the stability of strength and accountability among women and men inside all of the 11 Plateau Indian tribes who stay this day at the Colville Indian Reservation in north-central Washington State.

Ackerman analyzes tribal cultures over 3 ancient classes lasting greater than a century--the conventional previous, the farming part while Indians have been compelled onto the reservation, and the 20 th century commercial current. Ackerman examines gender equality when it comes to strength, authority, and autonomy in 4 social spheres: fiscal, family, political, and religious.

Although early explorers and anthropologists famous remoted cases of gender equality between Plateau Indians, an important stability is the 1st book-length exam of a tradition that has practiced such equality from its early days of looking and amassing to the current day. Ackerman’s findings additionally relate to an exam of ecu and American cultures, calling into query the present assumption that gender equality ceases to be attainable with the arrival of industrialization.

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Another younger woman went about on the battlefield gathering up arrows for those of her warriors who had run out of them. Another, who had advanced too far in pursuit of the enemy, made such a swift about face, at the very moment several arms were outstretched to grab her, that she galloped back to her own lines leaving the enemy stupefied. Still another, after having spent some time pursuing several Crows, returned saying, “I thought these great talkers were men, but I was wrong. ” Unfortunately, he did not further describe this woman.

Even they, however, would have to be disqualified by her definition since women bear children, and the roles of men and women differ at least in that one respect. By Lamphere’s definition, then, no human society could qualify as sexually equal. Schlegel’s(ig77b:8-g) definition of gender equality is more useful and was adopted for this study. She writes that gender equality consists of the equal access or different but balanced access of both genders to power, authority, and autonomy in the economic, domestic, political, religious, and other social spheres.

Domestic autonomy consisted of the right to control one’s personal life, including control over one’s choice of (second) spouse, divorce, and freedom of movement. Political authority is institutionalized and wielded by one who is recognized as having the right to do so. In the traditional Plateau societies, the chiefs decisions,judicial and otherwise, were all examples of authority. A good speaker or respected hunter had influence over others through his or her individual qualities. Political autonomy is easy to identify in the Plateau.

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