In Indigenous cultures, everybody had equal rights and opportunities. There was no such thing as men being more privileged than women. In fact, it was an egalitarian society, where both men and women had important roles and powers in it. This was much different than European culture, where it was not an egalitarian society. Women in Europe were often treated less well than men and they did not have equal rights and opportunities as men either. Once the Europeans arrived in America, they were shocked to see that women and men had the same status. Gender relations are different from culture to the other.
In Indigenous societies, everybody had a role that was necessary for the survival of their people. In their culture, there were also people who were “two-spirited” meaning a person that is gay, lesbian or transgender. These individuals could have same-sex marriages, which were recognized by the Natives from the start of history. The gender relations in Indigenous cultures were very more open than it was for Western cultures. Over the past decades, gender relations in Western cultures are becoming more egalitarian. However, there is still a lot of work to be done as there are still inequalities with men and women today. For instance, in some jobs, women are not paid the same amount as men for doing the same job as them. The LGBTQ community is still being discriminated against by people in Western cultures. There is still judgment of what women are able or not to do, such as do certain jobs. Women are also expected to act in certain ways in Western cultures today. Western cultures are trying to have the same gender relations in Indigenous cultures but there is still work to be done to deconstruct society’s beliefs on gender.
What struck me the most about Indigenous culture relations on gender is that they were an egalitarian society from the start and the fact that they did not have unequal attitudes towards women. This struck me the most as the society as painted and stereotyped the Natives as being savages. However, they were the ones with equal rights and opportunities in gender, which really made me ask myself: who were the real savages in history? In brief, we can learn from gender in Indigenous cultures that we must treat everybody equally regardless of their gender and that we should not discriminate against people solely because of their gender.