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Cherokee women, in this gendered world, wielded most forms of power and authority. This resulted from the fact that Cherokees determined kin bonds through matrilineal clans

1- Women as a Source of Life: According to the Cherokee, menstrual blood was a source of feminine strength and had the power to destroy enemies.

By virtue of women’s roles are farmers and mothers, they were seen as possessing a great amount of life-giving power. This power was symbolized by blood, since it was the blood of Selu that caused the first ears of corn to grow from the earth . Additionally, because of their desire to maintain balance and preserve distinct boundaries, the Cherokees tended to regard anomalies like blood, which belonged inside of the body but often leaked or gushed out, as potentially dangerous and extremely powerful. Because women had monthly contact with blood through menstruation, they were thought to possess enormous power. In fact, the belief in the power of blood was so great that menstruating women were secluded from the rest of the tribe to avoid accidentally harming their friends and family .

2- Balance and Equality: To begin to understand the role of women in traditional Cherokee society, one must understand the concept of balance. Cherokees believed that the world consisted of different realms which, though they existed side by side, could not be permitted to cross into one another. This belief extended to gender; men and women were regarded as equally important, yet each had their own specific sphere in which to live.

3- The Power of Clans: Women also received power as a result of their importance in clan membership and kinship. The Cherokees’ nearly 20,000 members were divided into seven clans: Deer, Wolf, Bird, Long Hair, Blue, Wild Potato, and Paint. Clans operated like large but intensely unified families, and members of the same clan were whole-heartedly willing to support, avenge, and assist all other members, even those they did not know well. It was not uncommon for a Cherokee, when traveling to a distant village in another part of Cherokee territory, to receive food and lodging from fellow clan members whom they had never met prior to their journey

Cherokee mother and child - no date
4- Power in tribal government: Women also held positions of power in tribal government. Each clan selected an elder woman to serve on the Women’s Council, which took part in decision-making in times of both war and peace . The Women’s Council was so influential that it even had the power to occasionally “override the Chief’s own authority”

Cherokee woman -old picture

5- The Government was so Afraid of the Cherokee women: In order to “annihilate” women from their powerful position and train them for their proper position as ladies of the home, as well as to fulfill a second goal of converting Cherokees to Christianity, missionaries founded schools and churches in Cherokee territory.

6- Drawing Conclusions: Overall, one can see that Cherokee women underwent a dramatic transformation during the eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries. In traditional Cherokee society, women were considered men’s equals and were respected for their ability to give and sustain life, their key role in the all-encompassing system of clan membership and kinship, and their ability to atone for crimes against their fellow Cherokees by carrying out  justice

 Cherokee Pride

Responses to "The Power of Cherokee Women: 6 Amazing Facts"

  1. Yet another example of how Natives had a true sense of balance, harmony, and awareness that was destroyed by the introduction of Europeans.

  2. Anonymous says:

    Balance is always needed to uptain harmony.

  3. Anonymous says:

    Beautiful,powerful strong Icould go on and on. young girls could learn so much. Needs to be taught in schools. All of it!

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