Leadership in Public Arenas

Men and women both have leadership roles in the clan as Clan Uncle and Clan Mother. They are expected to make decisions jointly, and one cannot supersede the other in decision-making.

The principal public arenas are political and ceremonial. The chief and his council members are men. These men, in consultation with other important male clan leaders, make the major political decisions for the village, which consist primarily of adjudicating disputes over land. Punishment of miscreants is mainly left to individuals to settle, there being no police force.

While political decision-making may appear to rest in the hands of a few, it is actually quite inclusive. All men belong to kiva groups, and it is there, in the general discussions, that the leaders get a reading of public opinion. Furthermore, men bring to their discussions the opinions of their wives and female clanmates. No man would be so foolish as to make a public pronouncement that his wife and her family disapproved of if he wanted any peace at home, and he certainly would not go against the perceived best interests of his female clan members. Women have considerable political power behind the scenes, although their men speak for them in public.

Both men and women take leadership of religious sodalities. Most of these sodalities are led by the male leaders of the clans that control them, but three are women's societies and have female leaders. Even those with male leaders have female members, as the women's societies have a few male members whose participation is necessary for the ceremony to be conducted.

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