A Collaborative Educational Series
By Shawna Booth
The second series of shared discussions brought another large crowd as about 350 people gathered to listen to Sally Roesh Wagner and Jeanne Shenandoah discuss the role of women in Haudenosaunee and colonial culture.
Sally Roesh Wagner began the evening by discussing the early days of the woman’s movement. An importantly facet to their discussions was their encounters with Haudenosaunee women. People like Elizabeth Stanton couldn’t help but be affected by the role that women played in Haudenosaunee culture and government and wonder why and how for that could happen in English America.
Jeanne Shenandoah further explained the important role of Haudenosaunee women. During the women’s movement and as well as today, the Haudenosaunee prides itself on the role of woman in our culture. This is based firstly on our matrilineal structure. Women, not the men, hold the title to the chiefs. The women carry the clan and nation identities from their children. And from this structure, our traditional families began building and living in communal families. Therefore, when these first encounters happened, it was a real eye opener and influenced how they saw their future. That is how these American suffragettes were influenced by Haudenosaunee women.