Blog #3: Gender Equity in Indigenous Cultures

In Indigenous cultures, the distribution of social roles in both gender is quite fair and is based on the living contidions and the geographical location of the population groups. This distribution of roles between men and women are based on cooperation and allows the community to live more efficiently since both roles complement each other: Innu men hunted big animals while Innu women fished and captured smaller animals with traps, and important social status (shaman) could be accorded to both gender. Mi’kmaq men hunted big animals, fished and prepared weapons while Mi’kmaq women captured fish, picked berries and built camps. Iroquoian nations had a more complex social and political structure since they have a sedentary lifestyle: men were in charge of tribal councils and had authority but they were at first, approved by senor women whom also had power over longhouses since their societies are matrilineal and matrilocal. The Blackfoot Nation men hunted buffalo and went ot war while women processed buffalo meat. In all of those Indigenous populations’ cases, the division of roles in both gender were egalitarian and allowed each to use their strength in the field they are best at and to compliment each other’s weaknesses. The work of both gender were equally valued and they had social roles where both men or women could undertake. Indegenous people were also very open and acceptant towards transgenderism. The term of two-spirit was used to describe people in the indigenous societies that had both gender in their body. They were free to marry a woman or a man and had special roles that were valued in the societies such as seers and healers.

Nothing in my reading about Indegenous culture and gender role suprised me since I already knew about their acceptance towards homosexuality and equal gender division of tasks. We had to go to the Fine Art Museam at my highschool and we saw the exibition about Western colonisation of America and about Indegnous culture. That was were I first heard about how open Indegenous people were towards homosexual people since the have a very deep respect of the nature and that we are all humans before anything and that we are all part of the nature.

Gender relations in indegenous societies are similar to the modern Western culture in the sense that there are more gender neutral jobs in the modern society such as nursing and scientific milieu, and that there are more women in the high positions such as in politics. The difference between indegenous societies and Western culture is that in Western culture, the idea that both gender are equal came much later than in the indegenous culture. We can still learn from them and adopt their values such as the open mindness towards people who identify themselves as another gender than the one they are born in. We can also learn their ideology that both gender compliment each other and that no gender should be superior than the other.

3 thoughts on “Blog #3: Gender Equity in Indigenous Cultures

  1. I agree with how you said modern Western culture and beliefs about gender relations has gotten better and more similar to indigenous societies. However, there is still room for improvement because there are still some remaining social norms ingrained into Western culture that are not egalitarian. Whether it is explicit or implicit, there are many ways in Western language and culture that show how women are undervalued and implied to be the inferior sex. Also, there are still high expectations for women that are not put on men as well as strict judgements and stigmas about women’s freedom and what is considered “acceptable” for a woman to do.

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  2. I strongly agree with Alexi, I also think there’s a long way to go when it comes to the norms we have here in our Western culture. There’s still so much gender inequalities to be resolved. Although I do admit that we’ve done some journey with gender neutral jobs and job opportunities. We shouldn’t brush over our progress so far either.

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  3. Really liked how you linked your visit to the museum to your text. I agree that gender equality became a concept that the Western society started to adopt much later compared to indigenous people and i hope that hey continue to make progress because western society as well as other cultures still have a long way to go.

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