Subarctic Women

Decent Essays

In chapter four of Native North America, Native Peoples of the Subarctic, Sutton describes the Subarctic natives as being a nuclear family unit. A nuclear family is described as a couple with their immediate children (Nuclear Family, He states that even though the nuclear family unit was a popular family unit type, it was not uncommon for extended family to be present. He also states that family recognition did not go beyond two generations and that there was no social distinction between the mother and father’s sides of the family (Sutton 86). Many groups have ritual practices for children reaching pubescents, the subarctic people were no different. While males had few rights, the importance of this stage in life was still recognized. Females, however, were placed …show more content…

There is a division between males and females from puberty and into life. This division is most highly expressed in labor. As is typical for many societies, men hunted, fished, went to war, while females collected plants and took care of children. The subarctic people are a hunter-gatherer society. Women in this society are inferior to men. They were not treated well and often beaten by their husbands (Sutton, 87). This brings us back to puberty, women are isolated during their menstrual cycles, and so women looked forward to this time. Women had far more responsibility than men. They were to maintain canoe’s, carry out chores, take care of the children, and carry a vast majority of the materials and tools to keep her family going. Her period of isolation gave her a break from her home life (Sutton 87). This is not to say she was “trapped”. Divorce was widely practiced and relatively simple to achieve, the individual requesting divorce would just move. Marriage was often arranged by parents. Marriages could also be polygynist. The most important rule of marriage in subarctic society was to avoid incestuous relations (Sutton,

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