According to the Gender and Culture Diversity in the Early Contact Period, it describes how the cultures of both the English and French colonizers and the indigenous colonizers encountered. After reading about the indigenous cultures, I learned about how men hunted and gathered, while women took care of gathering berries, prepping for meals and taking care of the children. Although the work was divided and the men were mostly leaders, women had authority and were respected. Women were also entitled to be Shaman and included into everyday life decisions. On the other hand, European people lived in a different way. Men also did the hunting and gathering while women took care of the family and cooked, but women had no say in anything. There was a hierarchy that men were in charge and that women and children had no choice but to obey the man of the family. The only time a woman would be involved was if a man decided to sell his property, he would have to consult his wife before doing so. Unfortunately, women were kind of put in the background, they would be seen as assistants rather than owners. Ultimately, aboriginal women had great power and European women weren’t allowed to rule their husbands.
Both cultures do relate to our own contemporary Western culture. When comparing the indigenous culture to today, women and men do share equal responsibilities in a household, like cooking, working, cleaning and taking care of children. Women and men can both be owners of a business and both have opinions that are accepted and valued. Unfortunately, not everyone perceives life that way so that’s why the European culture relates to our culture as well. For example, there’s stereotypes of how women should be in the kitchen and shouldn’t work because they aren’t capable of doing so. How women should be silenced and walk behind their husbands, just as the French women did. Even today, men will refuse to cook or clean because they believe it’s a women’s job. There’s no excuse to why it should be considered a “women’s job”, when other cultures have been proving that all genders should be equal.
Lastly, the aspects of indigenous cultures that struck me the most were that the women were seen as, “hyper-sexual” because they weren’t bound to one husband and that they were allowed to experiment sexually before marriage. It upsets me that the European women would trash indigenous people, when in reality it’s what they all should’ve been routing for. It’s ridiculous how many innocent people from European cultures have been forced into marriage without any love ties, therefore I find it rather strange that they wouldn’t want that for themselves. I think that a choice to experiment sexually before marriage and the right to divorce should’ve been less frowned upon by European women because it could’ve led to a place where all genders are equal.
By: Julianna Noto