By Lillian A. Ackerman
Long ago, many local American cultures have taken care of men and women as equals. In ''A worthwhile Balance,'' Lillian A. Ackerman examines the stability of energy and accountability among women and men inside all of the 11 Plateau Indian tribes who dwell this day at the Colville Indian Reservation in north-central Washington kingdom.
Ackerman analyzes tribal cultures over 3 historic classes lasting greater than a century--the conventional prior, the farming part while Indians have been pressured onto the reservation, and the twentieth-century commercial current. Ackerman examines gender equality by way of energy, authority, and autonomy in 4 social spheres: fiscal, household, political, and spiritual.
Although early explorers and anthropologists famous remoted cases of gender equality between Plateau Indians, ''A precious Balance'' is the 1st book-length exam of a tradition that has practiced such equality from its early days of searching and amassing to the current day. Ackerman’s findings additionally relate to an exam of ecu and American cultures, calling into query the present assumption that gender equality ceases to be attainable with the arrival of industrialization.
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Extra resources for A Necessary Balance: Gender and Power Among Indians of the Columbia Plateau
Sherry Ortner is among those who would answer in the negative. She notes that the “apparent benevolent authority of elders or the apparent altruism and solidarity of kin are often grounded in systematic patterns of exploitation and power” (Ortner 1995:i 79). Ortner cannot look at the simplest society without seeing a politics that is as complex and sometimes as oppressive as those of capitalistic or colonial societies (Ortner 1995:i7g), though she denies that capitalism has permeated every corner of the world (Ortner 1984:142).
Members of these two groups continue to visit, exchange gifts, intermarry, and hold celebrations in common, but the alien political entities that are interposed between them make such interaction more difficult than in the past. S. ” THE RESERVATION SETTING The offices of the Colville Confederated Tribes and the headquarters of the Bureau of Indian Affairs are situated near Nespelem, Washington, the 30 A NECESSARY BALANCE approximate center of the reservation. Four voting districts exist within the reservation.
For instance, two smallpox epidemics raged through the area in protohistoric times, reducing the population by at least 45 percent (Boyd 1985: 333-34). These were followed by other epidemics, such as “childhooddiseases,” more smallpox (Boyd 1985:335, 338), and malaria from 1830 to i 833, which swept away an estimated three-fourths to seven-eighthsof the remaining tribal populations (Cook 1972:172). I conjecture that the p o p ulation losses loosened the bonds of tribalism. Robert Thomas Boyd ( 1985: 335) also states that social units became somewhat simpler after the epidemics struck.
A Necessary Balance: Gender and Power Among Indians of the Columbia Plateau by Lillian A. Ackerman