How Iroquois women kept their warriors in check
Sweeeeeeeping generalizations aside, the Native American women of the Iroquois nation collectively held more power in their society than their Anglo counterparts. Could there ever be a Native American version of Queen Anne, or Victoria or Mary? Not to my limited knowledge. However, under the Queen were all these men vying for their own power through impregnating her, where as, as I understand it, the Iroquois women worked as a political council.
Women did the laborious job of tending crops, gathering food and reared the children all while the men hunted and trained in warfare. Because they provided such a service to their society, they were allowed a seat at the table. Euro-centric societies had women playing a specific role and were never to stray from those confines. For the Iroquois, clan membership and inherited material goods stayed with the mother’s line. Clan matrons selected men to serve as the Chiefs, and if they were dissatisfied with the job he was doing, they could remove him. It is in these instances that they were able to pull the mother card as they raised any of the men who held significant power, therefore it was theirs to give and take. Mothers still have something to say, they are not relegated to the corners or told to be quiet, their opinions mattered, something America is still struggling with today. That’s what I take out of this research. I do not know the ins and outs, and I am trying not to romanticize an existence that I do not fully understand, however, women in their society were given a lot more power proportionally than the ancestors of their conquerors.
Yes they were conquered, but as the world shrinks, I can’t help but wonder if their model of leadership and governance would have us on a sturdier path toward longevity as a species.