By Lillian A. Ackerman
Long ago, many local American cultures have handled men and women as equals. In ''A useful Balance,'' Lillian A. Ackerman examines the stability of strength and accountability among women and men inside all the 11 Plateau Indian tribes who reside this present day at the Colville Indian Reservation in north-central Washington country.
Ackerman analyzes tribal cultures over 3 ancient sessions lasting greater than a century--the conventional previous, the farming part while Indians have been compelled onto the reservation, and the twentieth-century business current. Ackerman examines gender equality by way of energy, authority, and autonomy in 4 social spheres: fiscal, household, political, and spiritual.
Although early explorers and anthropologists famous remoted cases of gender equality between Plateau Indians, ''A worthy Balance'' is the 1st book-length exam of a tradition that has practiced such equality from its early days of looking and amassing to the current day. Ackerman’s findings additionally relate to an exam of ecu and American cultures, calling into query the present assumption that gender equality ceases to be attainable with the appearance of industrialization.
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Extra resources for A Necessary Balance: Gender and Power Among Indians of the Columbia Plateau
Susan Allison, an early settler in British Columbia, actually witnessed a shamanic ritual conducted by a Similkameen female shaman. She noted (Ormsby i976:34): “In the centre of the camp there was a blazing fire, and a little distance from the fire lay the sick one. With a mat separating her from the patient stood the doctor-a very powerful one, I had been told. ” Allison left due to the cold but was later told that the shaman had removed a snake from the body of her patient, who was expected to recover (Ormsby i976:34).
Class distinctions were unthinkable . . when a new chief had to be selected any man was eligible’’ (Ray ig32:25). Class differences would not develop in societies like those in the Plateau because “[iln egalitarian societies, . . it is impossible to alienate people fiom their right of access to basic resources” (Etienne and Leacock 1980:g). Anyone in Plateau societies had the right to resources, and no one could deny that access. Further, stratification is limited in hunter-gatherer societies because an accumulation of wealth would be a hindrance to a nomadic lifestyle (Duley and Edwards 1986:37).
The wood was kindled and burned until the ember stage, at which point the small stones dropped down to the bottom of the hole. Sufficient damp earth was shoveled in to cover the top of the stones, followed by about half a foot of branches. Other layerswere laid until the hole was nearly full. The roots were placed on top, covered with fir branches, a layer of dry pine-needles, and another layer of fir branches. Then everythingwas covered with earth, and a large fire of fir-wood was kindled on top to provide heat.