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 Matrilineal transfer of power American Indians

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PaulRyckier
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PostSubject: Matrilineal transfer of power American Indians   Sun 03 Apr 2016, 19:28

By doing research for my thread: Ancients gods and kingships I came on a fact that I didn't know until now...
About the matrilineal role in North American Indian society.
Found this article:
http://www.manataka.org/page1588.html
And now by further research on the web this:
http://www.peglamphier.com/uploads/5/8/9/7/58972537/document_set_1.pdf

And it seems that that phenomena also excisted in other parts of the world...

Have some of our honourable members some more knowledge about it?

Kind regards, Paul.
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nordmann
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PostSubject: Re: Matrilineal transfer of power American Indians   Mon 04 Apr 2016, 09:37

Matrilineal inheritances need not automatically infer power, Paul. Meles meles probably knows more about this than I but from what I gather it was quite normal once in the Basque culture to hand down the mother's surname through families, as well as property from mother to daughter, a practice that only apparently died out in recent centuries. However this never seems to have translated into real power in a political sense within the same community for its female members.

Back in the 80s there was quite a lot of literature produced by feminists which played up the considerable anthropological evidence for women once having enjoyed much more political power than now as a default in primitive communities, and much more than men at the time too. However while these claims were difficult to gainsay - they most definitely at least weren't contradicted by the evidence - they also posed a huge problem regarding how and why this default should so drastically have altered as society developed. While a case could be made with respect to an individual culture or society it became nigh on impossible when one acknowledged the macro shift, which the proposed model was obliged to include by default, to adequately account for the transition.

For me the key is to avoid falling into the trap of assuming that political power has itself been a constant in terms of purpose, form and development, despite how homogeneously uniform it may appear to be in modern society in the same terms. Also, if one scrapes the surface of any society just a little, one often finds that "power" in its more fluid definition follows matrilineal lines still, even if the public recognition of such power is limited, or even when it is actively denigrated or blocked from holding influence in the patrilineally devolved power structures within society.

However popular expressions such as "the hand that rocks the cradle ..." and "behind every man stands ..." etc are tacit recognitions of the true complexity at play. In addition, mythology - often a statement of contemporary aspiration in pseudo-historical form - also backs up this recognition. Myth abounds with strong female-led proto-societies, and besides the amount of historical truth these myths might or might not contain, their perseverance definitely stands as testimony to their contemporary relevance and their contemporary truth.
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Priscilla
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PostSubject: Re: Matrilineal transfer of power American Indians   Mon 04 Apr 2016, 10:57

I sense you going into myth-mode again, nords so this will put  your teeth on edge. When researching Scythians several sources mentioned matriarchal  power in some clans - which happily suited my purpose at the time. Whether or not through lineage was not defined. I also read of a small area of Grece that still has it. I meant to look into that but never did and cannot recall where I found it. I only used books with source notes for all  my research at that time. Perhaps ID can give a far better insight on this matter
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nordmann
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PostSubject: Re: Matrilineal transfer of power American Indians   Mon 04 Apr 2016, 11:18

Define power in Scythian terms.

I do not deny such existed but I would like to know what you mean by it all the same.

@Priscilla wrote:
I sense you going into myth-mode again, nords so this will put your teeth on edge.
Was that necessary?
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Priscilla
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PostSubject: Re: Matrilineal transfer of power American Indians   Mon 04 Apr 2016, 11:46

Yes, necessary. I know how much I irk you so out with the tank traps early. Not that I am any too bothered I ought add so why should you be? Lighten up! To continue. Aye, that power bit was difficult to word because I am uncertain about it - some evidence suggested warrior status - and some sources yubbered on about 'princesses' for what that is worth - from some great burial finds. Clan leaders was the best I could deduce without stretching things too  far; very highly respected with a big say in things was inferred. So, yes, vague - and hence the defences. Perhaps I should just have shut up.. Smile
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nordmann
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PostSubject: Re: Matrilineal transfer of power American Indians   Mon 04 Apr 2016, 12:29

You can desist from your tank-traps (or whatever). They are unnecessary, despite what you choose to believe, and unbelievably tiresome to navigate around.

But back to the discussion. This is exactly the problem with "power" as a concept historically (not to mention that "Scythian" itself is more an archaeological concept than a reference to any single culture). These are facets of power, right enough, and even facets which women have been blocked from adopting in later times, but it is dangerous to infer too much from them all the same regarding women's contribution to political life and their exact role in it.

Even with the Amazons in the equation (the female Scythian warriors) it is difficult to discern any matriarchal power structure in the historical evidence for the growth, structure and behaviour of the Scythian culture throughout that period. Yet their presence in the ancient records suggests something there that was already considered odd or remarkable by later Greek writers, in much the same way as Boudicca struck later Romans as remarkable, though her revolution still resists attempts to infer a similar matriarchal power structure amongst the Britons.

There appear to be two primary social needs being met with matrilineal inheritance and matriarchal hierarchy and they don't always overlap. On the one hand is how society internally organises its domestic affairs to ensure orderly continuation through the generations of essential assets - be they property or the family itself. On the other hand there is that level of politics which ensures the society's survival against external threat - imagined or real - and which seems to have been almost exclusively the preserve of males since records began.

What appears to me to be true is that the earliest advanced civilisations were most prone to blur the lines between the two, and in those cases a string matriarchal system often assumed the top spot in both roles, probably as it had in less developed societies beforehand.

As society grew more complex - and the stakes higher should a system fail - there appears to have been a rather definite division in the structure of power. Politics was seen more and more as a specialised facet of power associated with military and diplomatic policy which in turn became a male preserve. This itself spawned a legislature and religious hierarchy as adjunct which, being a male thing, then could not fail but to make inroads on any visible evidence of power retained by women in society. There were different combinations evident in different periods, but the trend was away from women at first receiving recognition for their role in society's survival, then with that role itself being eroded in terms of how important it should be regarded in the context of power, and finally with concerted efforts to actually eliminate that role entirely through subjugation of women as a class.

Not that long ago this status quo in European culture was seen as "evidence" of an advanced society. In certain muslim cultures it still is.

However for all the legislation and indoctrination women's contribution at its most basic level could never be eliminated. And in some isolated instances that lifeline for women was reflected in dispensated legal recognitions of their role, something which in recent times has grown. But then, probably just as now, this more often than not has not translated into actual power either, at least not as defined by men for men in the past.
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PaulRyckier
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PostSubject: Re: Matrilineal transfer of power American Indians   Mon 04 Apr 2016, 19:57

@nordmann wrote:
Matrilineal inheritances need not automatically infer power, Paul. Meles meles probably knows more about this than I but from what I gather it was quite normal once in the Basque culture to hand down the mother's surname through families, as well as property from mother to daughter, a practice that only apparently died out in recent centuries. However this never seems to have translated into real power in a political sense within the same community for its female members.

Back in the 80s there was quite a lot of literature produced by feminists which played up the considerable anthropological evidence for women once having enjoyed much more political power than now as a default in primitive communities, and much more than men at the time too. However while these claims were difficult to gainsay - they most definitely at least weren't contradicted by the evidence - they also posed a huge problem regarding how and why this default should so drastically have altered as society developed. While a case could be made with respect to an individual culture or society it became nigh on impossible when one acknowledged the macro shift, which the proposed model was obliged to include by default, to adequately account for the transition.

For me the key is to avoid falling into the trap of assuming that political power has itself been a constant in terms of purpose, form and development, despite how homogeneously uniform it may appear to be in modern society in the same terms. Also, if one scrapes the surface of any society just a little, one often finds that "power" in its more fluid definition follows matrilineal lines still, even if the public recognition of such power is limited, or even when it is actively denigrated or blocked from holding influence in the patrilineally devolved power structures within society.

However popular expressions such as "the hand that rocks the cradle ..." and "behind every man stands ..." etc are tacit recognitions of the true complexity at play. In addition, mythology - often a statement of contemporary aspiration in pseudo-historical form - also backs up this recognition. Myth abounds with strong female-led proto-societies, and besides the amount of historical truth these myths might or might not contain, their perseverance definitely stands as testimony to their contemporary relevance and their contemporary truth.


First as an aside:

About the emergence of the prophet Deganawidah...
From the link I provided:
http://www.manataka.org/page1588.html



"Just as Hiawatha was despairing, the prophet Deganawidah entered his life and changed the nature of things among the Iroquois. Together, Hiawatha and Deganawidah developed a powerful message of peace. Deganawidah's vision gave Hiawatha's oratory substance.[20] Through Deganawidah's vision, the Constitution of the Iroquois was formulated.
 
In his vision, Deganawidah saw a giant evergreen (White Pine), reaching to the sky and gaining strength from three counter-balancing principles of life. The first axiom was that a stable mind and healthy body should be in balance so that peace between individuals and groups could occur. Secondly, Deganawidah stated that humane conduct, thought and speech were a requirement for equity and justice among peoples. Finally, he foresaw a society in which physical strength and civil authority would reinforce the power of the clan system.
 
Deganawidah's tree had four white roots which stretched to the four directions of the earth. From the base of the tree a snow-white carpet of thistle down would cover the surrounding countryside. The white carpet protected the peoples that embraced the three double principles. On top of the giant pine, an eagle was perched. Deganawidah explained that the tree was humanity, living within the principles governing relations among human beings. The eagle was humanity's lookout against enemies who would disturb the peace. Deganawidah postulated that the white carpet could be spread to the four corners of the earth to provide a shelter of peace and brotherhood for all mankind. Deganawidah's vision was a message from the creator to bring harmony into human existence and unite all peoples into a single family guided by his three dual principles.[21]
 
With such a powerful vision, Deganawidah and Hiawatha were able to subdue the evil Tadodaho and transform his mind. Deganawidah removed evil feelings and thoughts from the head of Tadodaho and said "thou shalt strive . . . to make reason and the peaceful mind prevail."[22] The evil wizard became reborn into a humane person charged with implementing the message of Deganawidah. After Tadodaho had submitted to the redemption, Onondaga became the central fire of the Haudenosaunee and the Onondagas became the "firekeepers" of the new Confederacy. To this day, the Great Council Fire of the Confederacy is kept in the land of the Onondagas.[23]

Why do I always see parallels in those stories as from St Paul receiving the sudden message from heaven, the same with the founder of the Opus Dei: de Balaguer...from wiki:
"Opus Dei was founded by a Catholic priest, Josemaría Escrivá de Balaguer, on 2 October 1928 in Madrid, Spain. According to Escrivá, on that day he experienced a vision in which he "saw Opus Dei".[27][28] He gave the organization the name "Opus Dei", which in Latin means "Work of God",[20] in order to underscore the belief that the organization was not his (Escrivá's) work, but was rather God's work.[29] Throughout his life, Escrivá held that the founding of Opus Dei had a supernatural character.[30] Escrivá summarized Opus Dei's mission as a way of helping ordinary Christians "to understand that their life... is a way of holiness and evangelization... And to those who grasp this ideal of holiness, the Work offers the spiritual assistance and training they need to put it into practice."[31] 
And hadn't Buddha also not  a vision...

But to the subject:
"Matrilineal inheritances need not automatically infer power, Paul. Meles meles probably knows more about this than I but from what I gather it was quite normal once in the Basque culture to hand down the mother's surname through families, as well as property from mother to daughter, a practice that only apparently died out in recent centuries. However this never seems to have translated into real power in a political sense within the same community for its female members."


Yes, I agree Nordmann, but in this particular case there seems nevertheless let us call it then no power, but some political responsability...?
If you read the text I provided in the link?:
http://www.manataka.org/page1588.html
"Through the "hearth" that consisted of a mother and her children, women played a profound role in Iroquois political life. Each "hearth" was part of a wider group called an otiianer, and two or more otiianers constituted a clan. The word otiianer refers to the female heirs to the cheiftainship titles of the League, the fifty authorized names for the chiefs of the Iroquois, passed through the female side of the otiianer. The otiianer women selected one of the males within their group to fill a vacated seat in the League.
 
Such a matrilineal system was headed by a "clan mother." All the sons and daughters of a particular clan were related through uterine families that lived far apart. In this system, a husband went to live with his wife's family, and their children became members of the mother's clan by right of birth.[15] Through matrilineal descent, the Iroquois formed cohesive political groups that had little to do with where people lived or from what village the hearths originated.
 
The oldest daughter of the head of a clan sometimes succeeded her mother at her death upon the judgement of the clan. All authority sprang from the people of the various clans that made up a nation. The women who headed these clans appointed the male delegates and deputies who spoke for the clans at tribal meetings. After consultation within the clan, issues and questions were formulated and subsequently debated in council.[16"]


And it is even more detailed in the second link that I provided in my original message...
Even captive white women seems to have preferred to stay with the Indians as their rights were that much more estimated than in the white society that they left...

Kind regards, Paul.
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nordmann
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PostSubject: Re: Matrilineal transfer of power American Indians   Tue 05 Apr 2016, 08:34

I actually agree with that interpretation of power completely, Paul - what might be called the "hearth model", one that has all but disappeared in recent times but which played such an unfathomably huge role in human affairs for millennia. The communal hearth was a natural forum right up to the age of radio and TV. Its contribution to social cohesion and interpolation of political policy (at its most basic level of definition) was immense. As a forum it was also one in which women could - in many societies and at different times - exert a much higher level of input and control than they could outside the house.
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Priscilla
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PostSubject: Re: Matrilineal transfer of power American Indians   Tue 05 Apr 2016, 09:42

A most interesting concept. And I am not sure that it has gone entirely - just moved on a pace. I have witnessed a mother texting her daughters across the room during a social visit with several guests there. Their 'chat' was fast and furious, too. The mother also kept it up with a daughter during another lunch later. No one else seems to realize what is going on but expressions betray quite a tussle. I cannot imagine a father doing likewise......sorry if I interrupted the flow here, Paul.
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