Roles of Women in Pre-Columbian America

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The term Pre-Columbian America had been used to refer to the period before the Europeans had begun exercising their authority over the American continent. The early Americans had bestowed some responsibilities on their women which are known to range from social, political and religious.

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The American regions that distinctly describe the roles of women are found in the North and South America, which consist of the development of Maya and Aztec alongside the progress of Inca respectively (Vera 133). In as much as there were varied responsibilities depending on the regions, there were similarities based on the social and political duties.

In North America during the Mayan and Aztec civilization, women were highly respected, and this was demonstrated by the power and the authority they commanded. Moreover, there was no hierarchical system hence equality between men and women established but only differentiated through their gender roles (Vera 142). The primary function of women was demonstrated through sustenance of their families which indeed the majority engaged in preserving and curing food, together with the acquaintance with the plants. Precisely speaking, the vital roles for women ranged from giving birth, nurturing children and feeding their families (Vera 170). Among the societies like Iroquois women were assigned duties in the administration and church offices. The other roles which women performed include cleaning residential areas, taking care of children, cooking, gathering food, sewing and pounding corns. In regards to craft work, they participated in basketry, weaving, and pottery.

Politically, women contributions were highly cherished in the political forums. In many instances, their political opinions would count during decision making since they had much significance where the ruling was to be made in the tribal councils in regards to war or peace (Vera 280). For instance, among the Cherokee both women and men were equivalent and they could make a final ruling in the Black Drink that would save the life of a prisoner who was to face a death sentence.

Socially, women had enjoyed the freedom that was equal to mens. They exercised power and autonomy as men. For instance, there was the equivalence in the quantity and quality of food consumed and the home and communal life.

In regards to religion, women were mandated with the key responsibility managing the goddesses and the cults. They were to ensure care was taken on the two, and they were to account in case of any problem.

In the South America during the Incan civilization, women did not have significant political roles; their primary duties involved weaving clothes for the Government stores (Vera 285). The daily basis duties included looking after children, house maintenance, cooking and weaving. Also, the women engaged in farming, making flour and cloth weaving.

Concerning the religion, the Incan women referred as Acllacunas were selected and grouped in a particular class upon which they were to live in the temple. Their war was expected to abandon their families and to engage in the responsibilities such as preparing ritual foods, taking care of the ritual fire and weaving garments purposely for the rituals. The ten most beautiful girls were to be chosen, educated by mamacons then to be reserved as the emperors concubines. Socially, women were highly respected and had some privileges. Amongst the advantages were the exoneration from the taxing duties and receiving constant adequate food and clothes.

In conclusion, the women during the Texas history had similar roles of nurturing children, preparing food, textile work and housekeeping.

Work Cited

Tiesler, Vera. The Bioarchaeology of artificial cranial modifications: New approaches to head shaping and its meanings in Pre-Columbian Mesoamerica and beyond. Vol. 7. New York: Springer Science & Business Media, 2013. Print.

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