Native American Studies

A Necessary Balance: Gender and Power Among Indians of the by Lillian A. Ackerman

By Lillian A. Ackerman

Long ago, many local American cultures have taken care of men and women as equals. In ''A invaluable Balance,'' Lillian A. Ackerman examines the stability of energy and accountability among women and men inside all the 11 Plateau Indian tribes who stay this present day at the Colville Indian Reservation in north-central Washington kingdom.

Ackerman analyzes tribal cultures over 3 old sessions lasting greater than a century--the conventional earlier, the farming part whilst Indians have been pressured onto the reservation, and the twentieth-century commercial current. Ackerman examines gender equality when it comes to energy, authority, and autonomy in 4 social spheres: financial, family, political, and spiritual.

Although early explorers and anthropologists famous remoted cases of gender equality between Plateau Indians, ''A worthy Balance'' is the 1st book-length exam of a tradition that has practiced such equality from its early days of searching and collecting to the current day. Ackerman’s findings additionally relate to an exam of eu and American cultures, calling into query the present assumption that gender equality ceases to be attainable with the arrival of industrialization.

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Additional resources for A Necessary Balance: Gender and Power Among Indians of the Columbia Plateau

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This is a basic institution, which explains how the complex areal society described by Anastasio ( 1972 ) actually works. These sodalities are not patrilineal or matrilineal descent groups. Instead, descent is traced through both parents. In brief, the bilateral (traced through both sides of the family) “extended families” so often referred to in Plateau ethnographies are actually nonunilinear descent groups. Each of these groups traces its descent through either males or females five to seven generations back to the founding ancestor of the group-the key element in identlfirlng a nonunilinear descent group (Ackerman 1994).

This enabled a qualitative evaluation to be made of the relative status of men and women. Before fieldwork,I did a preliminary analysis of general Plateau culture based on the above method, as an exercise to see how data on gender could be analyzed. This method yielded a three by four table with twelve separate components (see table 1 ) . Data for each of these components were extracted either from the published ethnographic reports on the Plateau or from data that I thought the component should encompass in the culture.

Tribes in the stippled zone are included on the Colville Reservation. Adapted from Ray (1939:I I ) by R. E. Ackerman. Permission granted by author. 38 A NECESSARY BALANCE ripened. The First Roots Ceremonywas primarily a female ritual but was necessarily simple since people were scattered in small groups at this time of year. Four to five women, according to Ray (ig32:g7),were appointed by the chief or an elderly man of the camp to collect and cook the first ripening foods that were the object of the ritual.

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