Consequently, both men and women were respected for doing their jobs well, although this is not how early European American observers saw it. Such observers, coming from societies which held that women—gentlewomen, that is— should be cloistered and protected, were aghast at the workload that Plains Indian women carried. They witnessed them, from varying societies and at various times of the year, clearing fields, planting, hoeing, and harvesting; digging cache pits and storing food; erecting and dismantling lodges and tipis; collecting wild plants and firewood; cooking, hauling water, and washing dishes; transporting possessions, generally on foot, on bison hunts; making household items, including pottery and clothing; and child rearing. This workload increased during the first half of the nineteenth century as the fur trade raised the demands for dressed skins and robes.
They had to hunt, farm, prepare food for the winter, build homes, make their own clothing, and protect themselves from their enemies. In the typical Native American society, the work was divided up between the men and the women.
They each took on different roles in society in their daily lives.
Although each tribe and region was different, the division of labor between men and women was generally similar across most of the Native American tribes.
The women were responsible for work around the house, like cooking and raising the children. The men were responsible for work away from the home, like hunting and raiding.
Typical Women's Work The women were generally in charge of the home and sometimes the fields. They worked extremely hard. Cooking - The women cooked and prepared the meals. This could involve skinning and cleaning the animals, gathering fruit and nuts, building a fire, and smoking meat to be stored for the winter.
Crafts - Women had a variety of crafting skills they used around the home including making baskets, weaving cloth, preparing animal hides, and making clothing.
Harvesting - In many tribes the women were responsible for harvesting the crops. The men might help in this task, but it generally fell upon the women.
Other Jobs - Women had a variety of other jobs including raising the children and gathering firewood. When a tribe moved, it was generally the woman's job to pack up the home for moving and then set it back up at the new location.
Typical Men's Work The men were in charge of the tribe's activities away from the home. Hunting - The primary job of the men was hunting and fishing. Animals were not only used for food, but their skins were used for clothing and, in some cases, to make their homes.
Fighting - Men also were responsible for making war and protecting the village.
Crafts - Typical men's crafts had to do with their jobs such as weapons for hunting and boats for fishing and traveling.
Other Jobs - In most Native American tribes men were the political and religious leaders. They often did the heavy work such as building permanent homes and planting crops.
Interesting Facts about the Roles of Women and Men In some cases, men worked on detailed crafts such as ceremonial jewelry. The women were in charge in the homes. They often owned the home and everything in it. Women were well respected in the tribes for their hard work and providing food from farming.
Men and women had different roles, but generally had equal rights. In some tribes, the chief was a man, but he was elected by the women.
Activities Take a ten question quiz about this page. Listen to a recorded reading of this page: Your browser does not support the audio element. For more Native American history:Those who were third gender went underground, and conservative European ideas about traditional gender roles conditioned the Native Americans into believing non-heteronormative practice was sinful.
Before the LGBTQ activism of the s, homosexuals within the Native American community were subject to physical and . Gender roles in Western society have generally been strictly binary — there are men and there are women, and what they are expected and permitted to do follows from the moment the doctor says.
Two-Spirit (also two spirit or, occasionally, twospirited) is a modern, pan-Indian, umbrella term used by some indigenous North Americans to describe certain people in their communities who fulfill a traditional third-gender (or other gender-variant) ceremonial role in their cultures.
While most people mistakenly associate the term with "LGBT Native", the term and identity of two-spirit "does. Students will comprehend the impact of literary tradition on gender and social roles Students will explore the Craft Revival website for the roles of Cherokee women and men during the Craft revival, how they differed, and how the revival impacted gender roles.
expressed preference refer to themselves as American Indians or Indians. In the last years, Afro-Eurasian migration to the Americas has led to centuries of conflict and adjustment between Old and New World societies.
Most of the written historical record about Native Americans was made by. Distribute Resource Sheet #2, "Native American Gender Roles in Maryland: A Second Look," and Resource Sheet #3, "Images of Woodland Indians." Students should examine these images in their groups to draw conclusions about the roles of men, women, girls, and boys in Woodland Indian society.