Posted by Petra on June 29, 1998 at 20:39:56:
In Reply to: Questions posted by Erin on June 29, 1998 at 14:31:29:
: Okay three questions:
: 1. A scene in Follow The River shows the captives having to run through a double line of Shawnee who were beating them with lashes, I was wondering if this ritual is related to the one in the Huron Village in LOTM where Hawkeye was subject to taunts and attacks as he approached???
: 2. Eric S mentions in his interview that he was disappointed with the lack of womens roles in LOTM. This led me to wonder what the postion or status of NA women were, historically, in the tribe? In NZ very few Maori women, even now, have speaking rights on the marae(Meeting house) their role is to support the mens speech with song - kind of a power behind the throne thing!
: 3. This may have been discussed before but since I'm a newie, what do you LOTMers think of Dances With Wolves. I kind of really liked it even though Kevin Costner leaves me a bit cold, but I have heard or read that it is a bit shy of being historically accurate - as far as the portrayal of that particular tribe!!??
: That's all for now!! Can anyone help??
Erin, regarding your questions 2 and 3:
Pretty much everything, customs and just anything, varies / varied from one tribe to the other. So, probably the role of women varied too. But in many tribes, women had a strong position, certainly a stronger one than in European cultures. There is tons and tons of literature especially on this issue, and it is often pointed out what an especially strong position the Iroquois women had. Just the other day, I saw "The Broken Chain", where the political power of these women is portrayed. In the movie, representatives of the Six Nations meet to find an agreement concerning their relations with the British and the French. And it is the women who debate and decide this issue. When they reach their decision, one of the male elders (now, did they call them the "war-chiefs" in the movie? Not sure..) is called in. He is informed about the women's decision and asked to then inform the other male elders that they have been authorized to enter into a treaty with the British. To me, that part was especially interesting. At the end of the movie they thank the Iroquois Nations for their support/advice, so maybe this separation of powers was portrayed realistically. Political theorists around the world (especially the old socialist theorists, Marx and Engels) have long studied reports on the Iroquois and have developed some of their theories based on how they perceived that political system.
As for other tribes, I only know that women often were very independent. Some, like the Apache/N-De (my husband's tribe) had a system where the man became a member of the woman's family and went to live with them. He only owned personal items, and if the woman decided she wanted a divorce, then he was on his own with his few belongings. On the down-side, there are reports that a husband who had been (or thought he had been) cheated by his wife would cut off the tip of her nose.
Concerning "Dances with Wolves", I enjoyed much of it, but I have yet to meet an Indian of my generation or younger who liked it. My in-laws did, though, but then they like John Wayne movies too.. My husband's comment: "Typical white man's movie - white guy finds his white woman in Indian country."
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