By Lillian A. Ackerman
Long ago, many local American cultures have handled men and women as equals. In ''A precious Balance,'' Lillian A. Ackerman examines the stability of energy and accountability among women and men inside all 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 ancient classes lasting greater than a century--the conventional prior, the farming part whilst Indians have been compelled onto the reservation, and the twentieth-century commercial current. Ackerman examines gender equality by way of strength, authority, and autonomy in 4 social spheres: monetary, household, political, and spiritual.
Although early explorers and anthropologists famous remoted circumstances of gender equality between Plateau Indians, ''A worthy Balance'' is the 1st book-length exam of a tradition that has practiced such equality from its early days of looking 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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Additional resources for A Necessary Balance: Gender and Power Among Indians of the Columbia Plateau
Thus, at least some credence can be placed in the later claims that gender or sexual equality prevailed in traditional Plateau culture (Ray ig3g:q; Walters 1938:96). CHAPTER 2 Methodology and Background Two problems arise in any study of sexual or gender equality: what is an adequate definition of gender equality,and how does one demonstrate its presence or absence? Any kind of gender status, equal or unequal, is difficult to evaluate or measure. Micaela di Leonardo ( 1 gg 1 :16-1 7) also sees gender status sometimes as control over resources, sexual autonomy, political power, or other factors.
James Teit ( 1906:1 gg) mentions a famine among the Lillooet, probably in the early i8oos, caused by the salmon failing to run upstream the previous season. He also refers to an unidentified plague the year before the salmon failure, which caused a great mortality. If a salmon run failed in one spot, the usual remedy was for people to travel elsewhere to get salmon for the year. I speculate that with a perhaps lingering illness and a dearth of personnel among the population this option was not easily available that year, and people starved.
When one area was exhausted of roots, the women moved camp to other areas. Ray (ig32:gg-iorj) lists fifty-two important roots, fruits, stems, nuts, seeds, lichen, and other plant foods collected by women. Richard Post lists thirty-six such foods ( 1938:29-30). While the women TRADITIONAL PLATEAU CULTURE 39 performed this heavy work, the men were as yet relatively unoccupied (Ray 1932:27). In the Sanpoil and Nespelem areas, the men’s time for heavy work began with the salmon runs in May. Each village owned a fishing site where the salmon passed as they moved upriver.