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hist2616indianpaper - Charles Ryan Sundling HIST 2616...

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Charles Ryan Sundling HIST 2616 Failure without Native American Women La Nouvelle France , España dos, or even United Native American Tribes could have been names for what we now know as the United States of America, if it were not for the help of the Native American tribes and their women that resided on the land before the early European settlers. The history books and many early settlers’ accounts of the Native Americans portray the men as doing the hard work and being the political leaders. These accounts of course were seen through a clouded lens. The early European settlers saw the tribes through the social constructions of their own culture. This meant that they dismissed women as “slaves” (Norton and Alexander 2007). This statement was made purely on the cultural beliefs that Europeans held rather than interviews or Indian beliefs. The Native Americans saw women in a very different light than the Europeans. Native American women were an integral part of their tribes as well as to the success of early European settlements. Like it or not the early European settlers needed Native American women to survive. This need of women can be seen in multiple tribes in different locations. The settlers needed women because of the important presence they played in their own societies. Women’s value to Native American tribes can be seen through multiple instances and this value directly translates into the success of early colonization. This translation will be shown through the Powhatan tribe, the Creeks, and some notations of other tribes. The Powhatan Indians were a tribe situated 7 miles from the Jamestown settlement (Rountree 1998). This tribe, like most of the era, was separated into two main working groups, the men and women. The men’s main job was to hunt for meat, while the women did gathering
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and other household duties. These statements may sound like they fall into European gender systems of males being superior to females, but you will soon see the tribe had very different ideals. Women’s duties far outnumbered their male counterparts. Women’s work was hard and strenuous. Women had a myriad of duties they did and did well. These duties included everything from making bread to carving out canoes. Their daily duties included emptying the fish trap, planting fields, weeding fields, taking care of children, bringing home firewood, gathering berries and greens, making the stew, butchering, kills and digging roots to make bread.
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  • Fall '08
  • MARGARETBALL
  • Native Americans in the United States, native american women, European colonization of the Americas, MARY BETH NORTON, rountree

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