Relative Status of Men and Women

Kinship was traced solely through women and this gave them considerable prestige because kinship affected social interaction, demography, internal order, and foreign policy (Perdue, 1998). Kinship in Cherokee society was the clan. An entire clan did not live together but generally the households were quite large. A whole village could be made up near relatives. The only permanent members of the household were women, and husbands were considered outsiders. The brothers and sons of the female members had a permanent connection to the household. Occasionally, brothers challenged the domestic authority of their sisters, uncles, or nieces, but never their wives. Male presence in the household was irregular at best because husbands, brothers, and uncles belonged to different clans, which was awkward and caused conflict. Men made appearances at their homes and the houses of their wives but frequented communal sites (council house) in the company of other men. Besides, men were most likely hunting, at war, or in the council house (Perdue, 1998).

With Cherokees, relative age carried more weight than sex or gender in determining moral character. Maturity, reliability, and valued characteristics developed with seniority (Sattler, 1995). Demonstrated success in warfare, hunting, oratory, and similar activities contributed to prestige and personal power for men as well as age.

Pregnancy And Childbirth

Pregnancy And Childbirth

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