How To Do A Bibliography In Chigago Style In Word Gender Roles and the Algonquian Women

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Gender Roles and the Algonquian Women

In this essay, I will identify the difficulties that Algonquian women face because of the concepts of gender roles of the English colonists. I will also describe women’s responses to the English settlers and the internal divisions between Indian women and men.

Pre-contact Algonquian peoples “invoked a divine division of labor to explain and justify the differences between the roles of men and women on the land” (Shoemaker 29). Thus, women took charge of the household chores, which included the cultivation of corn and other plant foods. Men’s duties included hunting, war and clearing land for cultivation. The English colonists were shocked by this division of labor; they considered male Indians to be lazy for avoiding agriculture and engaging in activities that the English associated with the favorite pastimes of the landed aristocracy.

The response of Algonquian men and women to the English colonists reveals internal divisions between the two. Powhatan, head of the Algonquian confederacy, tried to make the English his allies by providing them with corn and women, and at one point tried to adopt John Smith. On the other hand, Algonquian women distrusted the English. Many of the women refused to have contact with them, and “fled from their homes in fear” (Zapateiro 39).

Another response to the presence of the English was to turn “a female tradition of sexual hospitality into a weapon of war” (Shoemaker 39). The women lured the English into their villages, leaving their weapons behind, where they could easily be captured or killed.

Bibliography

Cobbler, Nancy. Negotiators of Change: Historical Perspectives on Native American Women. Taylor & Francis, Inc., 1994.

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