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Evolution of Rights and Responsibilities as Compared Between Native American, African American and European American Women in th - Essay Example

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Evolution of Rights and Responsibilities as Compared Between Native American, African American and European American Women in the United States from 1776 to 2013 Your Name Name of of Professor Evolution of Rights and Responsibilities as Compared Between Native American, African American and European American Women in the United States from 1776 to 2013 Race and gender as social paradigms of identity have been intrinsically connected in the American society…
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Evolution of Rights and Responsibilities as Compared Between Native American, African American and European American Women in th
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Evolution of Rights and Responsibilities as Compared Between Native American, African American and European American Women in th

Download file to see previous pages... Tracing the social organization of Native American societies in the 18th century, Theda Perdue observes that these cultures practiced a well delineated division of labor between the sexes. She gives the example of the Wahpeton Dakota community where men and women lived three months of each year apart as the former hunted muskrats while the latter was involved in the production of sugar (Perdue 1999). Such a gendered division of labor, though perhaps not in consonance with modern notions of equity, ensured to Native American women a considerable degree of social autonomy, that which was denied to them during the heyday of the colonial era. Perdue thus refers to Bernard Romans to illustrate the manner which racial and gender intolerance mingled to in the manner in which Native American women were portrayed in the accounts of the early European settlers- “Their strength is great, and they labor hard, carrying very heavy bundles a great distance; they are lascivious, and have no idea of chastity in a girl” (Romans qtd in Perdue 1999). The above description points to the collusion between racial and gender stereotypes whereby Eurocentric prescriptive notions of femininity were superimposed upon Native American women. The most striking shift in power equations could be seen in the case of the Cherokees. Anthropologists observe that Cherokee women had equal ownership of land and property, a practice that changed with the tribe being forced to sell significant portions of their land holdings to the United States government. The colonial government entered into these agreements with the men of community, rendering at once, the traditional parity of gender in these groups awry and creating a distinct hierarchy between the sexes (“Native women are fighting for their rights – and their lives” n.d.). This rupture within the community was deepened by then Voting Rights laws put forth for Native Americans by the American government. Till 1924, tribes were often compelled to abandon their social and cultural affiliations with their respective groups in order to gain the right to vote in American elections. Yet again, the men already rendered more powerful due to superior economic rights had a more pronounce incentive in giving up their tribe affiliations (“Native women are fighting for their rights – and their lives” n.d.). The Indian Reorganization Act of 1934 was enacted chiefly to acknowledge the contribution of Native American troops in World War I. The act led to the reduction of federal involvement in Native American community life and increased the role of tribal self-governance. Though it was unprecedented in the autonomy that it conferred upon the Native Americans within the USA, the act also consolidated their “outsideness” and hence was not equally well received across Native American communities. Furthermore, the restoration of land to Native Americans yet again accentuated gender inequalities as it did not ensure equitable distribution between the sexes ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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