Theda Perdue is a professor of history at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. Her works include Slavery and the Evolution of Cherokee Society, 1540–1866 and Native Carolinians: The Indians of North Carolina.
(p. xi) [A] culture can have very different responses to change.Part 1 : A Woman's World
(p. 1) In the center of the smooth, level stomp ground burned the sacred fire, earthly representative of the life-giving sun.
(p. 2) As midnight neared and dancers tired, a young singer and some of his youthful relatives began to circle the fire calling for people to dance. No women joined the circle. For several minutes, probably an eon to the stranded singer, he continued to call for women to join him. Ultimately, a woman dancer, perhaps a relative, stepped in behind him, set the rhythm, and permitted him to sing. Without a woman, the dance could not have taken place" (p. 2).
(p. 2) [C]lans are matrilineal.
(p. 9) The stomp dance taps a deep reservoir of feelings about sacred fire, the earth and the people who inhabit it, the Cherokees and the world beyond the stomp ground. Most significantly, it embodies a Cherokee construction of gender. The sound of the rattles summons a world in which women and men balance each other as surely as rhythm and words combine to make the stomp dance. That world is the subject of this book.
(p. 9) The story of most Cherokee women is not cultural transformation ... but remarkable cultural persistence.
(p. 11) Native women emerge from the historical shadows only if we approach their study on two levels. We must pay attention to how women and men related to each other within their own societies, and we must look at ways in which those relations became part of the larger debate over Indians and Indian policy. Thus viewed, Native women become major players in the great historical drama that is the American past.
(p. 13) ...their ancestral mother, Selu ... They conceived of their world as a system of categories that opposed and balanced one another. In this belief system, women balanced men just as summer balanced winter, plants balanced animals, and farming balanced hunting.1. Constructing Gender
(p. 13) ...a hunter named Kana'ti and his wife, Selu.
(p. 14) Kana'ti provided the meat and Selu contributed corn and beans ...
(p. 15) The concept of balance was central to their perceptions of self and society, and the responsibility for maintaining balance fell to men and women.
(p. 17) ... corn, which the Cherokees called selu ...2. Defining Community
(pp. 17-18) A person's job was / an aspect of his or her sexuality, a source of economic and political power, and an affirmation of cosmic order and balance.
SINGING TO THE PLANTS(pp. 18-19) At the final cultivation, the owner of the field, either accompanied by a spiritual leader or alone ... sang songs to the spirit of the corn.
(p. 19) Complementary plantings of corn, which removes nitrogen from the soil, and beans, which replace nitrogen, helped preserve fertility.
GREEN CORN CEREMONY ~ reconciliation(pp. 25-26) All wrongs were forgiven; retribution was arranged; unhappy spouses were released from their marital bonds. This / ceremony forced restoration of internal order whether or not the parties desired reconciliation. This separate feast became subsumed in the Green Corn Ceremony, and corn became emblematic of community harmony.
(p. 27) A communitarian ethic pervaded Cherokee life. The effort to reconcile aggrieved people at the Green Corn Ceremony was one manifestation; another was the redistributive aspects of the Cherokee economy. In a redistributive economy, the people contribute a portion of their goods and produce for the welfard of the community, a kind of voluntary taxation.
SOUNDS LIKE "THE RED TENT"(p. 29) during their periods, Cherokee women retired to specially constructed menstrual houses. ... Other women in the household or even men, if necessary, assumed her chores.
BY ANITA DIAMANT
(p. 35) War, hunting, childbirth, and menstruation required strict rules of behavior because they all involved blood. James Adair maintained that the Indians' aversion to blood stemmed from their beelief that "it contains the life, the spirit of the beast."
IS "FEAR" THE BASIS(p. 39) Why did the Cherokees joke about men and honor women who crossed gender lines? Both were anomalies, but only women acquired considerable prestige by crossing the line. ... As an anomaly, she possessed extraordinary power: through war and menstruation she had male and female contact with blood. Each experience singly was a source of power and danger; when the two came together, the power was phenomenal and permitted these women to move between the worlds of men and women. Men who farmed had neither opportunity -- war or menstruation -- to obtin power, and therefore the Cherokees had no reason to fear them.
OF OUR HOMOPHOBIA?
(p. 40) Cherokee women farmed and men hunted; women spilled blood in menstruation and childbirth and men in hunting and war. Female and male, feminine and masculine, women and men had no real meaning apart from the context in which they lived.
(p. 41) Cherokees traced kinship solely through women.Part 2 : Contact
(p. 42) Cherokees of the historic era had seven clans: ... Wolf ... Deer ... Bird ... Paint ... Blue ... Wild Potato ... Twister.
(p. 42) According to the principle of matrilineal descent, people belonged to the clan of their mother: their only relatives were those who could be traced through her. Blood relatives included siblings, the maternal grandmother (mother's mother), maternal uncles (mother's brothers), and maternal aunts (mother's sisters). The children of mother's sisters were kin, but those of mother's brothers were not. children were not blood relatives of their father or grandfather; a father was not related to his children by blood.
(p. 43) The only permanent members of a household were the women. Husbands were outsiders; that is, they were not kinsmen.
(p. 46) Consequently, a male presence in a household was irregular. The Cherokees, in fact, referred to the moon as male because it "travels by night" like men who paid only nocturnal visits to their wives' housees. ... Single men often preferred to sleep in the council house rather than in the houses of their mothers and sisters. ... Members of each of the matrilineal clans were dispersed throughout Cherokee territory, and every town usually had representatives of all clans. Although an individual might be personally unknown in a town, he or she always found a warm welcome among clan kin.
(p. 47) Clan members accepted children whose natural mothers had died because "mother" was a social rather than a strictly biological role. Children, in fact, had many "mothers," maternal aunts and other female clan members of their biological mother's generation. The same rules of behavior governed their interactions with all their "mothers."
(p. 50) James Vann
(p. 51) Elias Boudinot
(19th century editor of the Cherokee Phoenix
(p. 54) Nancy Ward
(p. 54) In 1776 Nancy Ward, the War Woman of Chota, reportedly rescued from the stake Mrs. William Bean, who lived in one of the illegal white settlements along the Holston River in what is today northeast Tennessee. The War Woman took Mrs. Bean to her house and ... learned from her how to make butter. Ultimately, Mrs. Bean was restored to her family.
(p. 55) Mothers also conveyed Cherokee identity; no one could be a Cherokee unless he or she had a Cherokee mother.
(p. 57) Although female infidelity rarely perturbed men, husbands who strayed caused considerable disharmony in the community.
(p. 58) Adair: "My Indian friend said, as marriage should beget joy and happiness, instead of pain and misery, if a couple married blindfold, and could not love one another afterwards, it was a crime to continue together, and a virtue to part and make a happier choice."
(p. 59) Cherokees grounded their sense of self in the clan, and individual identity melded into clan affiliation.
(p. 61) Nancy Ward ... reminds us that Cherokee women did not exist in a vacuum in the eighteenth century.DETOUR: The Cherokee by Theda Perdue, 1989
(p. 63) Europeans arrived and the status of women plummeted. ... Finally, despite a new respect accorded to individuals who acquired wealth and political position, most Cherokees still subscribed to an ideology that located power in relationships with the spirits controlling the natural world, subsistence, health, and the future. Women, as well as men, had access to this spiritual power.
(p. 64) The impetus for any shift in gender relationships among the Cherokee ... grew out of the need to meet the challenges of European contact, not out of a battle of the sexes. As a result, Cherokee economic and political life began to move toward concepts of individualism, hierarchy, and coercive power that had become firmly rooted in male culture. Women tried to channel these changes in ways that validated their traditional roles, but increasingly, women became the conservators of traditional values while men entered a brave new world.
Before hearing Dr. Perdue speak at UTC, I checked out a couple of her other books from the library and skimmed or read them. The list of clans differs:
(p. 42)..........(p. 21)
wild potato........blind savannah
NOTES from The Cherokee
(p. 21) Every village probably had households representing each of the clans, and so a Cherokee could always find relatives in a village even if he had never been there before.
(p. 22) Council meetings were run democratically; villagers debated an issue until they reached consensus.
(p. 24) Nancy Ward was a War Woman of the Wolf clan who lived in the late 18th century.
(p. 24) Cherokees believed that the principal people's major purpose was keeping the world in harmony and balance.
RELIGION(p. 25) Cherokee religion centered on sustaining harmony. At the Green Corn Ceremony the Cherokees tried to wipe out any disorder that had crept in during the year and begin anew. At this time, villagers cleaned private houses and the council house, threw away broken baskets and pottery, discarded any food left over from the preceding year, and extinguished old fires in a ceremonial gesture of renewal. The women presented the village with new corn, which had just become edible, and prepared a great feast. The Cherokees also dissolved unhappy marriages at this time and forgave all old wrongs except murder. People began the year with a clean slate and the knowledge that order had been restored. (And now back to Cherokee Women.)
(p. 72) Women shared what they produced; men sold their bounty.4. War
(p. 73) The Cherokees' hospitality ethic plus their custom of constantly having food available so that they could eat when hungry meant that no casual visitor had to purchase dinner.
(p. 76) Two economies characterized by very different economic values began to emerge -- an agricultural economy of women and a commercial hunting economy of men.
(p. 81) Deerskins instead of corn had become the commodity required to sustain Cherokees, and so women managed to appropriate these emblems of a more individualistic worldview to traditional community use.
(pp. 83-84) As long as agriculture was the bedrock of the Cherokee economy, the cooperative ethic of farming dominated Cherokee life, but the shift to hunting made individualistic pursuit / and triumphs not only acceptable but expected. The precipitous growth of individualism threatened the Cherokees' communitarian values. women struggled to keep both the values and their public expression alive.
(p. 84) An earlier notion of a world of discrete categories in which summer balanced winter, farming balanced hunting, and women balanced men no longer fitted the economic realities of Cherokee life. ... Participation in a commercial system beyond their control challenged the Cherokees to modify their attitude toward the exploitation of game and the acquisition of material goods. Traditionally, the killing of deer involved a complex set of beliefs. Animals, the Cherokees believed, caused disease, which plants could cure. Ideally, however, one avoided disease by placating the spirit of the dead animal. ... Central to this myth is concern over the unnecessary killing of animals ...
(p. 85) The Cherokees began to see distinct advantages in killing as many deer as possible for their skins alone, and in a society heavily dependent on the trade, failure to do so condemned one's family to severe deprivation. A hierarchical worldview began to emerge that gave men dominion over the animals and placed them at the top of a human hierarchy as well. When this worldview extended to gender, women no longer balanced men.
(p. 85) In this [Cherokee world] view, animals kept people in check through disease; plants cured disease and balanced animals. The whole Cherokee cosmology rested on this system of opposites that balanced each other, and maintaining equilibrium gave individuals' lives purpose and meaning. Similarly, men and women balanced each other and both contributed to subsistence.
(p. 93) The new power invested in warriors was a departure from the Cherokee political system that had operated until at least 1730. Characterized by widespread participation in councils and decision making by consensus, the traditional system involved little in the way of delagated power or coercive authority.Part 3 : "Civilization"
(p. 94) [F]rom the 1730s, the realities of dealing with Europeans undermined consensual politics, and warriors came to dominate Cherokee decision making.
(p. 97) The soldiers ... "pull'd up all the Corn, cut down the fruit trees, & burn'd the Houses."
(p. 106) The assortment of native household structures -- granary, summer and winter houses, menstrual hut -- gradually gave way to the typical pioneer homestead.
(pp. 107-108) Eighteenth-century warfare contributed to the demise of towns, the loss of a rich ceremonial complex involving agriculture, the loosening of kinship bonds, and the silencing of women's public political voice. The rise of warriors as a governing body, the delegation of authority, and the centralization of power jeopardized women's status. Furthermore, foreign policy came to dominate political participation. The productivity of a woman's fields and the well-being of her household depended on the skills of warriors on the battlefield and at the treaty conference. Male concerns -- war and foreign affairs -- still were male concerns, but they threatened to subsume the female domain.
(p. 109) Guided by an idealized view of men and women in their own society, reformers sought to turn men into industrious, republican farmers and women into chaste, orderly housewives.5. A Changing Way of Life
(p. 112) Beyond Washington's economic message, however, was an even more ominous signal to Cherokee women: in a "civilized" society women belonged to men, who both headed households and governed the nation. The president addressed Cherokee women only through men: "your own women"; "your wives and daughters."
(p. 113) Trade and warfard had accentuated traditional roles for men and women, but "civilization" threatened to usher in new roles by making men farmers and women housewives.
(p. 116) women envisioned "civilization" bringing improvement, not profound change. The matters Hawkins discussed with them were perfectly comprehensible because farming, tending livestock, and making utilitarian items had long been part of their world.6. Women in the Early Cherokee Republic
(p. 119) Meigs summarized the civilizers' major concerns. First of all, hunting promoted idleness rather than the industriousness on which civilization is based. Second, the common ground encouraged a disregard for private property. And finally, "wilderness" stood in direct opposition to "civilized" towns, pastures, and fields.
(pp. 119-120) That is, individual ownership of other kinds of property not only "civilized" Indians, but it eventually made them more receptive to the notion that land -- like deerskins, / fabric, or livestock -- was a commodity to be sold.
(p. 120) Cherokee men exhibited little interest in keeping hogs, cattle, or sheep. Instead, they commonly regarded such animals as game. ... White backcountry farmers as well as the garrison at Fort Loudoun complained constantly about the loss of livestock to hunting parties. Because livestock usually foraged in the forest until late fall, the Native assumption that these animals were game was not implausible.
(p. 125) In the eyes of Meigs and other "civilizers," farming constituted labor but herding, like hunting, did not. In their attempt to avoid women's work -- farming -- men seemed to be avoiding any sort of labor at all.
(p. 126) Instead of becoming the yeoman farmers so admired by Washington and Jefferson, most Cherokee men (like Washington and Jefferson) seemed more inclined to adopt the aristocratic planter as a role model.
(p. 126) The introduction of slave labor into the economy had a profound effect on Cherokee women and men. Cherokees were in the process of acquiring the racial attitudes of white southerners, and the use of this subject race in agriculture demeaned the traditional labor of women. The fact that slaves cultivated the fields of upper-class Cherokees made all Cherokee men less likely to embrace farming since one risked ignominy by agricultural labor. The use of slaves in farming also challenged women's view of themselves. If growing corn contributed to the gender identity of women, what happened when black men joined or replaced them in the fields? Gradually they saw their traditional role as women compromised.
(p. 132) With the end of the deerskin trade and colonial wars, men had lost an acceptable way to express the aggressive, competitive, individualistic male culture that had shaped their lives. ... Now they saw an opportunity to reorient male culture toward the acquisition of "individual property," and property became an emblem of success.
(p. 134) In more fundamental ways, however, Cherokee lives remained remarkably untouched: the Cherokees had adapted "civilization" to their own expectations of men and women. Cherokee women used the civilization program to embellish their culture, but they did not transform it. Certainly, women added new crops, cotton in particular, and new skills such as spinning and weaving, but they continued to farm, keep house, and tend children just as they always had done. Similarly, men's culture retained the basic ethic of eighteenth-century hunting and warring. Aggression and competition, however, found expression in the rapidly expanding market economy. ... Men and women shared many of the same concerns about both real and chattel property, but their property interests were rooted in different gender conventions: individual property reflected male culture while common ownership of realty formed the basis of women's culture.
(p. 135) A centralized Cherokee government originated in the late eighteenth century out of the need to coordinate foreign policy and to protect the entire nation from violence provoked by the actions of individual warriors. In 1794 the last belligerent Cherokees made peace with the United States, and the Cherokee political agenda shifted from war and peace to property, a chief concern of the "civilization" program.7. Selu Meets Eve
BALANCE(p. 135) Protection of individual rights characterized the Cherokees' approach to personal property. Hunters and warriors had embraced individualism far more strongly than farmers who worked as a group on land shared by their matrilineage, and consequently, personal property expressed male values. Commonly held real property, on the other hand, reflected the corporate ethic that governed women's lives. As the Cherokees created their republic in the early nineteenth century, they struggled to reconcile these two value systems and to create a code of laws in which individual and community, private and public, men and women balanced each other.
(p. 136) When the Cherokee council referred to "Mother Earth" in 1801, they gendered their homeland. ... the crops that took root in the earth had a clear cosmological association with women through Selu, whose blood soaked the ground and germinated corn. Men had no such mythical connection to the land: when kana'ti discovered his wife's death, he became a wanderer who never returned to his homeland. Like Kana'ti, men went abroad in search of game while women stayed home, hoed their corn, and became Selu's heirs.
(p. 137) Clothing, jewelry, and items of personal use traditionally belonged to an individual, and the Cherokees so closely associated these things with a person that they interred such items with the owner's corpse. Through eighteenth-century trade, Cherokees acquired an enormouse array of goods, many of which had considerable value, and by the time of the American Revolution, the Cherokees had largely given up the practice of burying valuable trade goods, like guns or hoes, with the deceased.
(p. 139) Although the inheritance of property had normally been of little consequence to the Cherokees, since they lived at the subsistence level and buried personal items with the dead, this new inheritance law threatened to reorder descent and to replace maternal blood ties with paternal material ties.
(pp. 142-143) [A] most sacred duty had passed from the matrilineal clan, an extended kin group that included / women and conveyed memgership through women, to the exclusively male council. The role of matrilineal clans in protecting a person's life had invested enormous social, political, and spiritual power in families and in women. Rendering clans powerless had a corresponding effect on women.
(p. 143) The council's admission of the descendants of traders, Tories, and other white men who had settled in the Cherokee country and married Cherokee women reflected two distinct realities of Cherokee life. First, because their mothers were Cherokee, the matrilineal Cherokees considered these men to be Cherokee, not mixed-bloods or "half-breeds," as whites saw them. Second, in a period of increasing contact with the United States and its citizens, bilingual and bicultural men possessed the expertise essential to a new Cherokee way of life and commanded the kind of respect that prominent warriors had when their skills were in demand.
(p. 146) By reordering inheritance and depriving clans of coercive authority, the council seriously undermined the matrilineal kinship system on which women's traditional status partly rested.
(p. 149) United States agents and Protestant missionaries had considerable influence in the early Cherokee republic, and Cherokee laws clearly reflect their views. When the Cherokees established a national police force, reordered inheritance patterns, abolished clan vengeance, extended Cherokee citizenship to descendants of intermarried white women, disfranchised women, and made polygamy and infanticide illegal, they won the approval of these power forces.
(p. 156) Allotment destroyed common ownership of land by dividing the Nation into parcels and assigning individual ownership to each parcel.
(p. 157) Furthermore, the Cherokees gave notice that they would negotiate no additional cessions -- a resolution so strongly supported that the United States ultimately had to turn to a small unauthorized faction, led by men who had white wives, in order to obtain the minority treaty of 1835.
(p. 157) As mothers they argued against any action that would "compel us, against our will, to undergo the toils and difficulties or removing with our helpless families hundreds of miles to unhealthy and unproductive country." Some fathers, however, had begun to rely on their own judgment rather than respect the will of the community, and this time, the "consideration" was sufficient for them to sell their homeland. ... women as well as men suffered the consequendces of the Treaty of New Echota.
(I expect this part to be the most fascinating of all.)Conclusion
(p. 159) The new view of womanhood promoted by policy makers, agents, and missionaries also recognized difference [between men and women], but the roles ascribed to women left them in a distinctly subservient, largely powerless position.
(p. 164) Missionaries did link prosperity and Christianity, primarily because they believed Christian values of self-restraint and discipline brought material rewards, whereas the indolence associated with "savagery" condemned one to poverty.
SO WHY WOULD ANYONE(p. 168) When Cherokees ultimately comprehended "the sinfulness of man; -- the sufferings of the Savior -- & forgiveness through him," they became anxious and unhappy.
WANT TO BE CHRISTIAN?
(pp. 170-171) Few women in the Cherokee Nation could equal Catharine Brown ["this lovely convert from heathenism"] or, at least, her memory. Most did not seem to want to. They preferred their traditional religion, which did not distinguish between the physical and spiritual worlds, which emphasized harmony and balance, and which placed the needs of the community above those of any individual. Those Cherokees who converted to Christianity became part of a hierarchical religion that promised little control over the physical world (that is, illness and weather), defined relationships to the natural world and other human beings in terms of dominion and submission, and placed responsibility for salvation, behavior, and success squarely on the individual.
(p. 171) Selu gave people corn and beans; Eve took an apple and gave them sin. Why would anyone want to abandon the Corn Mother?
(pp. 172-173) In 1824 mission teacher Sophia Sawyer suggested that "the Cherokees think much more of their sons than of their daughters." A more likely explanation is that parents believed that commerce and politics, the pursuits of men, demanded an education, whereas farming and housekeeping did not.
(p. 173) At home, women presumably did tasks that needed to be done, but they did not work merely to work, that is, they placed no value on the labor itself. On the other hand, missionaries abhorred indolence and sought to fill every minute of the day with productive activity: "When not employed in the dining room & kitchen, they are employed in sewing, sweeping, making beds, &c."
(p. 173) Missionaries regarded men as the appropriate providers for families and attempted to eliminate the role of women as farmers. They also sought to restructure the place of women in families. In the missionaries' worldview, the domestic sphere belonged to women but husbands and fathers headed the household. Furthermore, except in the case of death, this patriarchal household was permanent: men and women / had no freedom to separate and remarry.
(p. 177) While these people may have been interested in the Christian message on some level, they do not seem to have been likely to transform their domestic relations.
(p. 177) The increasingly isolated nuclear families that had replaced large extended kin groups and close-knit villages in many parts of the Nation could not always accommodate and support divorced spouses and dependent children. ... The development of nuclear families apparently had, in some cases, severed the ties to mother's brother and extended family without forging bonds between fathers and children, husbands and wives. In the war on "savagery," women and children suffered collateral damage.
(pp. 177-178) Before the upheavals of the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries, of course, the matrilineages would have taken care of these children. Maternal uncles would have provided much of the support and guidance that missionaries expected of fathers while children would have remained in the houses of their mothers and maternal kin.
(pp. 178-179) The mission and the church became a child's family instead of the clan. ... Furthermore, missionaries publicly identified children with Christianity and the missions by renaming them. ... In contradiction to their advocacy of patriarchal families, missionaries made little effort to promote the use of paternal surnames. As a result, Cherokee siblings sometimes did not share surnames. Elias Boudinot, / for example, took the name of the president of the American Bible Society with the approval of missionaries, but his siblings used Watie, their father's name. The Christian family took precedence over both traditional extended families and western-style patriarchal ones.
(p. 179) Most Cherokees enjoyed peaceful domestic relations, perhaps because they simply separated instead of fighting...
(pp. 180-181) Even the Baptists, who managed to forge a syncretic religion incorporating some aspects of Cherokee culture, insisted on chastity and on the sanctity of marriage. In familial relations, missionaries left little room to wiggle. For women, of / course, the restrictions on sexuality further compromised their autonomy and, in practice, placed control of their sexuality in the hands of fathers before marriage and husbands afterward.
(p. 181) Missionaries along with United States agents mounted an assault on Cherokee culture that had profound repercussions for women.
(p. 182) Witches used their power in evil and selfish ways. In particular, witches sought to extend their own lives by appropriating the life force, centered in the liver or heart, of others. Consequently, very old people sometimes fell victim to charges of witchcraft because they had lived beyond what Cherokees considered to be a normal lifespan.
(p. 183) [C]onjuring ... was the way in which traditional Cherokee religion intersected people's lives most frequently and intimately. Conjurors possessed a range of skills from determining the appropriate name for a baby to resolving marital problems.
(p. 184) In other words, the "mass and common" women refused to abandon their own ways of doing things and adopt the values and lifestyle that missionaries advocated. Selu had met Eve, but she had not surrendered.
(pp. 185-186) Some Cherokees -- both men and women -- embraced change. They turned to the acquisitive individualism of nascent capitalism, limited the body politic, and converted to the evangelical Protestantism that offered theological justification for individualism and hierarchy. ... On the other hand, many Cherokee women as well as men continued to adhere to a traditional belief system that linked the spiritual and physical worlds into a coherent balanced whole, emphasized the importance of community and harmony, and sanctioned the autonomy, complementarity, prestige, and even power of women. ... / Among these Cherokees, cultural persistence, including traditional constructions of gender, is at least as significant as change.
(p. 186) Cherokees lived on the fronties of aggressively expanding empires...
(p. 188) [P]oliticians maintained that no people had a right to land they did not cultivate.
(p. 189) Cultivation of the soil by men constituted legitimate ownership of land: minimal farming by mere women did not entitle one to possession.
(p. 189) Societies in which women worked outside the home became suspect: Jefferson, for example, suggested that heavy labor by women indicated extreme poverty. ... Albert Gallatin wrote ... "that the labor necessary to support a man's family is, on the part of the man, a moral duty; and that to impose on woman that portion, which can be properly performed only by man, is a deviation from the laws of nature." The real problem with Native societies ... was that women instead of men did the farming.
(p. 190) Proponents of removal ... advanced the claim that Native peoples dependent on hunting had no more right to political independence than they had to the land itself.
(p. 190) Political ideology and rhetoric employed familial imagery (i.e., the father of his country, the founding fathers), and republicans believed that family polity had enormous influence on government. An unregulated family life could not be expected to produce civic virtue; chaos within the family translated into anarchy within the state.
(p. 191) Euro-Americans might employ familial imagery and pay homage to the "father of his country," but family could not substitute for government among a "civilized" people. Nevertheless, extended families -- clans -- continued to have some role in Cherokee government as late as the 1830s.
(p. 192) These people seemed so devoid of any notion of property that men did not enjoy an exclusive proprietary interest in their wives, certitude of the paternity of their wives' offspring, or control over their children. The absence of property and proprietary rights was at the very heart of Native "barbarism." Property created citizens.
(p. 194) Only those Cherokees who were likely to have patriarchal families -- "white men . . . or halfbreeds" -- seemed interested in going west in 1830, and when a small group of Cherokee men illegally signed a removal treaty five years later, several of them had non-Cherokee wives.
(p. 195) Service to community rather than individual achievement still distinguishes Cherokee women and brings them acclaim. In 1985 Wilma Mankiller suceeded a male banker as principal chief of the Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma. She rose to prominence as a community organizer who worked with isolated and impoverished Cherokees. In 1995 the Eastern Band of Cherokees in North Carolina impeached an allegedly corrupt chief who had used the office for personal gain and replaced him with Joyce Dugan, a teacher who had served as superintendent of schools. These women did not become chiefs by succeeding in business or law; they became chiefs because they embodied the values of generations of Cherokee women, values apparently still honored and respected by men and women alike. The story of Cherokee women, therefore, is not one of declining status and lost culture, but one of persistence and change, conservatism and adaptation, tragedy and survival.