Native American Matrilineal Roles

Decent Essays

Native Americans
Europeans could never understand the hierarchy of Indian communities, where women had much more power politically rather than just perform domestic activities as done in English homes. Nor could they understand that many Indian nations were matrilineal. Native American women had more access to positions of power than did their European counterparts. Their children belonged to them and not their husbands. In agricultural tribes such as the Iroquois, women held most of the power. They controlled the food supply and men could not go to war if the women refused to give them supplies. (Berkin) Throughout the French and Indian War, the Indians sided with the French because the English treated them as savages and never bothered to understand their way of life. When the English won the war, the French were driven out of Canada leaving the Indians to negotiate an alliance with only the Crown. (Berkin, 111) When the American Revolution broke out, the English were the lesser of two evils to side with compared to the Americans. The Americans were “land grabbers”, if they won they would continue to move west and continue to take Native American lands.
These Matrilineal societies allowed women, such as Molly (Konwatsi'tsiaienni) Brant, to obtain status as important political figures. (Amedechiel) Her brother, Joseph Brant, was considered to be the leader of the Mohawk indians, but in reality he only acted as the muscle. Molly was the diplomat of the two. It was her

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