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2.3: Suggested Resources

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  • While not specially about Native American societies, anthropologist Peggy Reeves Sanday has two books that are very important in examining kinship and the roles of women in society. The first, Male Dominance, Female Power, looks at women’s roles in a number of societies and what happens to those roles during cultural changes. One of her case studies is the Lakota. In Women at the Center: Life in a Modern Matriarchy, Sanday argues that the Minangkabau of West Sumatra are an example of a matriarchy.

    League of the Houdenosaunee or the Iroquois, is an ethnohistorical account of the Houdenosaunee by Lewis Henry Morgan, originally published in 1851. While much of it reflects 19th century biases, Morgan’s description of Houdenosaunee kinship is important and has influenced much subsequent anthropological research on kinship.

    The novel Waterlily, by Ella Cara Deloria is a wonderful account of Lakota life in the early 1800’s. Included is much information about Lakota kinship and how it functioned in the broader society.

    Other books of interest are:

    The Tewa World: Space, Time & Becoming in a Pueblo Society, by Alfonso Ortiz.

    Women of the Earth Lodges: Tribal Life on the Plains, by Virginia Bergman Peters.

    Negotiators of Change: Historical Perspectives on Native American Women, ed. by Nancy Shoemaker.

    Sifters: Native American Women’s Lives, ed. by Theda Perdue.

    Many Tender Ties: Women in Fur-Trade Society, 1670-1870, by Sylvia Van Kirk.