have always had an honored place in Iroquois
society. In the Iroquois society, women
had the power of many things.
many societies throughout history and
around the world, women have not been
treated equally and given equal rights
to men. However, the Iroquois society
has always treated women equally and
given them a lot of power and important
jobs since their wisdom and skills have
always been respected by the Iroquois
of the main things that Iroquois women
controlled was choosing the chiefs of
clans and removing them if they didn't
properly fulfill their jobs. Women voted
to decide which men were in the Great
Council but could not run themselves.
The Iroquois women could start and stop
wars. If someone said things that clashed
with the Women's Council, they could
replace them. If the men wanted to go
on a journey that the women did not approve,
they would refuse to give them food and
of the lineage of the Iroquois tribe
went back to one woman and the family
name passed through the women's family.
Women had the rights to the land they
farmed and each clan divided their land
plots among the women. Women owned all
the normal things of everyday life such
as blankets, cooking utensils, farming
tools, and so on. All that the men owned
were their clothes, weapons, and personal
had many important jobs in the Iroquois
tribe such as planting and harvesting
the crops, collecting wild nuts and berries,
making clothes, clay pots and baskets,
taking care of the homes and the children.
And of one of the most important jobs
was being a Clan Mother. The Clan Mother
was the oldest and/or most respected
woman and had all the power over the
clan. The Clan Mother could choose and
remove the Chief of the clan who was
called a "Sachem". The women worked well
together and men and women worked well
in cooperation together too.
women had many more rights than Colonial
women. In fact, it took many years for
Colonial women to earn some of the rights
and power that Iroquois women had. It
was the example of Iroquois women that
inspired the first suffragettes like
Susan B. Anthony, Elizabeth Cady Stanton,
Lucretia Mott and Matilda Joslyn Gage
who worked for women's rights and the
right for women to vote. (In the picture
above, Elizabeth Cady Stanton is on the
left and Susan B. Anthony is on the right).
The first women's convention was in Seneca
Falls, which takes its name from one
of the confederacies and is located in
the middle of Iroquois territory.
a lot of wisdom we can learn from the
Iroquois culture. Not only that they
worked in so much harmony together and
everybody respected each other's thoughts,
they had a lot more respect for women
and all of nature. I had a lot of joy
learning about such an extremely wonderful
conclusion, Iroquois women have always
had great respect, responsibility and
power. Their society is a great example
of how men and women can work together.
presentation: In my presentation
to my class, I had made a poster featuring
art and pictures of Iroquois women
(including some of the images above)
in various roles and jobs. I also talked
about The Creation Story, which was
a very important story in the Iroquois
culture. The Creation Story is a myth
but the Iroquois people really believed
it happened. There are many versions
of The Creation Story but here is the
version I used for my report:
Iroquois had their own opinion on creation.
They believed that in Sky World, a woman
was gathering seeds and berries then
a great tree went up and left a hole.
The Sky woman fell through the hole and
went down where there was no land. She
landed in what was only water, where
the fishes and the other animals swam.
As the woman fell, the swans and the
geese that were flying over the water
caught her with their wings.
are we going to do with the Sky Woman?" the
birds asked. "She cannot fly or swim,
she needs a place to stand on."
creatures decided to bring up soil from
the bottom of the sea. When they did
this, all of them failed except the muskrat
that was able to bring up only a bit
are we going to put it?" they wondered.
my back" said the turtle.
what the turtle said the animals put
the mud on the turtle's back. The mud
grew so much that it became the earth.
That was when the Sky Woman was put down.
She dropped some seeds that she had taken
from the Sky World, and the seeds grew
into all the plants and trees on the
picture above is artwork showing Sky
Woman on the turtle's back. I thought
it was great that the Iroquois culture
had a story like this in which a woman
creates the Earth.
writings by Jazmin Kay at Feminist.com: