Iroquois Women An Anthology

SKU: 0919645186

William Guy Spittal
Grade Levels:
Ten, Eleven, Twelve, College, University
Cayuga, Iroquois, Mohawk, Oneida, Onondaga, Seneca, Tuscarora, Woodland
Book Type:

Sale price$19.00


Iroquois Women: An Anthology is a source book about the role of Iroquois women that contains 12 scholarly essays and 3 newspaper articles. The selection of reprinted essays focuses on how anthropological scholars have viewed Iroquois culture and the role of women from 1884 - 1989. Arranged chronologically, the articles build on previous research and tell as much about the subject as about the writers. Only one writer has Iroquois heritage - J.N.B. Hewitt was a Tuscarora scholar and linguist whose work for the Bureau of American Ethnology made a substantial contribution to our written knowledge of Iroquois cultural history and languages. Early writers such as Hewitt, Carr, and Goldenweiser establish the notion that Iroquois women played a substantial role within their culture. Other writers have taken this to mean that the Iroquois were a matriarchy where women dominated men. Unfortunately, this idea can be seen in the Cara Richard's article, Matriarchy or Mistake? A more balanced view of the substantial contribution Iroquois women made to political decision-making, as well as their role in social, cultural, and religious activities, can be seen in later articles such as Judith Brown's essay. In addition to theoretical analysis, several papers discuss the lives of modern Iroquois women. Martha Randle's 1951 paper and the previously unpublished master's thesis by Ann Shafer fall into this category. In Shafer's article, the editor has added extensive notes with commentary from knowledgeable Iroquois people. There are numerous quotes from the late Jacob Thomas that explain Shafer's work in more detail and more importantly, from an Iroquois perspective. Unfortunately this is the only paper where this extended information is documented. In Sally Roesch Wagner's article, the idea of Iroquois influence on early American feminist activists is documented. Finally, the anthology includes three newspaper articles about the Mohawk activist Kahn-Tineta Horn. Canadian commentator Peter Gzowski's two 1960's Macleans articles reflect the media's chauvinist and racist attitudes toward Native women. The last news article updates Horn's activities to 1989. Unfortunately there is no mention of her activities during the 1990 Oka crisis. The book contains 29 archival and contemporary photographs of Iroquois women, each with extensive captions. The collection gathers, in one volume, a wealth of information about the importance of Iroquois women and they way they have been portrayed in scholarly literature. This makes Iroquois Women: An Anthology a valuable resource for anyone interested in Iroquois/Haudenosaunee culture or in gender issues.

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