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Response to riderinthestorm (Reply #35)

Sat Apr 6, 2013, 11:25 PM

64. Also the Iroquois had an amazing civilization

Even tho men and women had separate spheres of influence, those spheres were equal in their ability to influence the life and culture of their group - whether going to war or not, included, because women controlled the food supply. They didn't have to supply food just because a male group had decided to go to war.

One guy in upstate NY claims that the Great Treaty of Peace, from the Native Americans, should be considered a "foundational document" of the U.S. But, he also notes, he thinks they were "disappeared" from history because the Iroquois had a society in which women "had a vote" at the table. They also had a different view of how the earth should be treated and didn't have much interest in the european idea of private property.

Something interesting, btw, in this article (which I had posted earlier, b/c it's a great source of discussion, imo), was the observation that an assumption among westerners was that Eskimo women had no agency because their husbands, as part of their custom, would not be averse to his wife sleeping with their male guests. The western-centric forced monogamy for females version was that women had no agency. But what if women did enjoy the possibility of having multiple sexual partners?

Just to say - I think it's important for females to examine their preconceptions - especially when they fit into the dominant ideology of the time and place in which they live. The biggest question I've wondered about, for the longest time - what would people be like if financial issues didn't influence their every action and decision.

Before class society, the idea of a strictly monogamous pairing of males and females with their offspring–the nuclear family–was unknown to human society. Inequality was also unknown. For more than 2 million years, humans lived in groups made up of people who were mostly related by blood, in conditions of relative equality. This understanding is an important part of Marxist theory, although much of the earliest evidence for it came from an unlikely source: from seventeenth- and eighteenth-century Jesuit missionaries who recorded their observations of the Native American cultures they encountered.

The Jesuits mostly were appalled by the level of equality they found–including the sexual freedom and equality between women and men. One Jesuit, when he encountered the Montagnais-Naskapi of Eastern Canada, reported, "I told him that it was not honorable for a woman to love anyone else except her husband, and that, this evil being among them, he himself was not sure that his son, who was there present, was his son." But the Naskapi were equally appalled by the Jesuits. The man replied, "Thou hast no sense. You French people love only your own children; but we love all the children of our tribe."19

The Jesuits recorded their disbelief at the fact that the Indians neither had, nor apparently desired, any kind of social hierarchy. This comment from Father Paul Le Jeune, writing in 1634, again describing the Naskapi, is typical: They "cannot endure in the least those who seem desirous of assuming superiority over the others; they place all virtue in a certain gentleness or apathy."

Le Jeune and the other missionaries set out, of course, to change this state of affairs. "Alas," he complained, "if someone could stop the wanderings of the savages, and give authority to one of them to rule the others, we could see them converted and civilized in a short time." But the obstacles were many. "As they have neither political organization, nor offices, nor dignities, nor any authority, for they only obey their chief through good will toward him, therefore they never kill each other to acquire these honors. Also, as they are contented with a mere living, not one of them gives himself to the Devil to acquire wealth."20


I'm inclined to think that property was the original sin that tossed humans from the garden. Religion just obscures this with myths that perpetuate tired tropes.

http://www.isreview.org/issues/02/engles_family.shtml

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