Native American Women

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The stereotypes that women are forced to endure are degrading and disrespectful, but when did they all start? The colonial era shows records of men taking advantage of women and giving them no rights or power, however, when the pre-colonial era began documents show that the women were not treated like they were in later years. The Native American men knew that without the women they would most likely struggle to live. Some people today say, their strength was essential to the survival of the tribe. European men did not see women as having a beneficial role in the Native American society and therefore believed they would be able to convert the women and men into adopting a new lifestyle. However, through the power of the women they were able to resist conversion. Although European men and women distorted the image of Native American women, the reality is, they had more influence and power than the European men in overall economic, social and political aspects.

In the Native American society gender roles were complementary and both men and women knew they were important factors within the tribe. Some work involved men clearing and plowing the fields, so the women could plant in them. Another major way the Native Americans worked together was through hunting and gathering. The men would hunt wild animals and the women would be responsible for processing the hides into clothing, blankets, floor coverings, tepees or trade goods. As well as preserve the meat and use the bones to make various tools and instruments. This demonstrated the amount of economic power the Native American women had, due to the fact that they were responsible for deciding what happened with the meat and the hide. They decided what would be used as dinner and what would repay a debt. However, the men were the ones who usually did the trading with the Europeans; therefore, they were seen more often as the ones with more power, even though the women’s influence designated where the trade would...
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