Blog 3: the differences between the Indigenous and the Europeans

Based on the reading “Gender and Cultural Diversity in the Early Contact Period”, it can be understood that there are several gender relations in indigenous cultures. The text describes the cultures of both the colonizers (English and French) and the Indigenous cultures the colonizers encountered. Throughout the text, it can be seen that the Aboriginal societies function based on the matriarchal system. It was a big shock for the Europeans due to the fact that they function based on the patriarchal system. The Europeans found it hard to accept that women in the Aboriginal societies had great power. For instance, it is said in one of the passages that “ A man may promise you something and if he does not keep his promise, he thinks he is sufficiently excused when he tells you that his wife did not wish to do it. “European men thought that this signified women “ruled” men. They convinced the Indigenous that in France, men were the masters. Therefore, this can be seen as one of the main differences between these two communities.  One believes that women should take the main decisions, whereas the other doesn’t.

In addition, the Aboriginals practice more inclusive sex systems such as two-spirits. It is basically an individual feeling like a woman and a man. They take on feminine and masculine gender roles and wear a combination of feminine and masculine dress. It is explained in the text such as “in others male-bodied, feminine-gendered individuals assumed feminine roles and wore feminine clothing, while female-bodied, masculine-gendered individuals performed masculine roles and wore masculine apparel.” Moreover, individuals that are two-spirit can marry or have sexual relationships with either gender. This practice was considered normal and acceptable in the Indigenous community. However, it was not the case for the Europeans. They considered this “as unmanly softness and passive homosexuality”. They were unable to think past the ideology of a heterosexual relationship. As always what they considered as the norm had to be followed and if it was not, it was considered abnormal.

Therefore, it can be seen that the Europeans had trouble accepting the Aboriginals’ ways and systems due to the fact that it was not the norm for them. They considered it odd. Almost everything was that the Indigenous did was a contrast to the Europeans’ culture and customs. 

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