How Native American Gender Roles Have Evolved
How Native American Gender Roles Have Evolved term paper due and don’t know how to start it? How about like this?
Attempting to find some validity to the assertion that gender roles within the Native American community have changed as a result of a loss of collectivism and the European restructuring of Native American culture, it is apparent that Mary Crow Dog’s autobiography Lakota Woman provides the most forceful evidence to support this thesis. Mary’s story, which chronicles the a brief history of the Lakota people as they struggled to keep their land, provides a particularly insightful look into the lives of the Native Americans after their culture began to crumble. What Mary revels are not only the heinous acts that were perpetrated against Native American women by the white man, but also the indifference of the Native American males to theses crimes.
Mary notes that most of her childhood was troubled:
- Her father left before she was born
- To support Mary and her three siblings, Mary’s mother took a job as a nurse 100 miles away from home.
- Mary and her sisters were left in the care of her grandparents, often for months at a time.
- When Mary turned nine, she was faced with the challenge of adapting to a new stepfather.
- Attempting to improve her life, Mary’s mother had married an alcoholic whose rage was typically incurred by Mary.
- By the age of 12, Mary herself had become an alcoholic and by age 17 she spent so much time drinking that she never went home: “I drank and smoked grass all of the time. At age seventeen that was just about all that I did”.
As changes in Native American society became more pervasive and the white man become more dominant in his move to assimilate the Natives into white culture, Mary found that her sister’s hopes of becoming a motherone of the native american traditional roles fulfilled by women in Native society-was literally stolen from her. Barbara had become pregnant out of wedlock. As such she was seen as a scourge to the white man. “In their opinion, at that time, there were already too many little red bastards for the tax payers to take of. For a number of years BIA doctors performed thousands of forced sterilizations on Indian and Chicano women without their knowledge or consent”. When it came time to deliver her child complications with the birth forced Barbara to travel to the white man’s hospital where she was told that she needed a Cesarean section to deliver the child. Barbara was sedated and when she awoke she was informed that she had been sterilized.