The online readings diverge from Powers’ book in the way they describe women’s lives. Pick one online reading and describe how and why it diverges from Powers’ book on a major issue of gender relations. There are many different views and stories about how the Lakota people are and their views on women and gender relations. In the book Oglala women by Marla Powers has a strong point of view; and so does and article titled The soul of the indian by charles a. eastman. By comparing the two we can see the different perspectives on women and gender relations in the oglala tribe.
Powers believes that a better understanding of the lakota conception of the spiritual condition of women will help others understand the way the lakotas see themselves in terms of female/ male relationships (pg 35). In the oglala cosmology it is woman whose social transgression leads to the creating of humans from the subterranean world to the earth. Mahpiyato creates humans and she called those people the Buffalo Nation. the actual emergence myth begins with Anukite (Bouble Face) who tired of playing with animals asks the pransker god Inktomi to help her conspire to induce humans to surface.
Tokahe was the first to follow, but after being hoaxed they came across Wazi and wakanka who taught them how to provide for themselves. Soon the people became acustomed to their new world. In her book Powers says that the expactant mothers were cautioned agains going to far, for if she was frightened it could mark the unborn child. A woman would deliver inside of a tipi with the help of a matron/midwife. most of the time it would be a grandmother or aunt of the expectant mother who would deliver the child, but the requirement was experience.
This idiology differs from what is explained in the soul of the indian . In that passage Eastman says that women are not allowed to have help. He states that all women have been prepared in both body and mind to deliver for childbirth. He further declares that the mother should travel outside of her tribe to give birth to the baby in the wilderness by herself. These two contadictory statements but can be true but Eastman’s seems a bit too far fetched. The one thing that both authors agree on is that from birth all children are onsidered wakan or sacred. They also concur that the mother needed to make sure the child did not cry. Although little sexual distinction was made between toddling infants, only some games were either sex allowed to play. When we see real changes in the way women are views and treated is when they hit puberty. it initiated conconmitant changes in her ritual status and her social status. In a females life adolescence was decidedly marked while it was hardly noticed in a boy. Woman were sometimes isolated when menstruating, said Powers.
They were not allowed to touch food, or men or any weapons because they feared that it would render such things impotent. Because that if women were brought to battles the enemies would run away because they knew they would be rendered powerless against a menstruating woman. Young women were protected at all times, to the Oglala people there was nothing more pure and valuable than a young womans virtue. Woman were protected from seduction and were sometimes tied from the hips down in order to prevent any man from passing the boundries.
Young woman now concentrated on what western society consideres women things like cooking, sewing and so forth. Following soon after young men would try to court the young women. For the most part the readings agree that the young woman had the choice of accepting or rejecting a male suitor. All of the information above is more like the past and how things used to be for women. Now, as Powers explains, women are not afraid to be more modern. though their life is modeled after the traditional rolses, Oglala people try to find similarities between the past and present.
Most active women, meaning women who are in leadership roles like on tribal council or own a business, have adapted and can distinguish what both catagories entail. in either case a high value is still places on womens roles as a wife and mother. Now a profound effect has been casted on males, while women continue to preserve their functions as wives and mothers. this implicates that their stature has not changed. before 1934 males were taught to farm and other forms of manual labor. while women were taught to still cook, clean and sew but some were taught clerical skills, and nursing skills.
These skills have further increased the importance of women to the oglala people, because now women are able to cross the line between their traditional roles and more euramerican roles. “While the Oglala society may be viewed as male dominated, primarily as a consequence of missionary and federal education, in ritual and myth females are now prime movers. ” (Powers pg 5) This isnt to say that the oglala people find women superior, but in myth in ritual it sseems that women are more dominant while in history men are considered superior.
Now a days it seems that both sexes compliment each other, which creates a unity of tradition and modernization. Based on the book Oglala Women, describes the ideal contemporary Oglala woman this way: “She is not simply Indian or white, she is not simply traditional or modern, and she is not simply female—often filling a male role. ” Powers discusses that women are more likely to do male attributed roles because men have a harder time finding jobs, since they were stripped of their original duties. Though gender identity is separate from physical sex organs.
A person can be physically male, and exhibit more gender traits traditionally thought of as female. What she means is that these Oglala women are less apt to conform to gender roles because their environment requires strength and skills traditionally thought of as masculine. Because of increased gender neutrality(men and women performing tasks regardless of gender specificity), their differences enriched them and helped them survive in their changing surroundings. But this seems to strictly be about modern times. In the book Powers says that even though women work they allow the men to claim more power over them and their finances.
In the reading Winyanktehca it states that no one chooses when their gender will change it comes to them in a dream, and from there the individual chooses to follow that dream or not. This dream is brought by Anog Ite who is the double faced woman from which their race began. The article tells us that once a person chooses to follow Anog Ite he then becomes a winkte which means gender crosser. This is someone who is highly valued by the Oglala people. This sort of confrims what the book says but also contradicts its a bit because the book says that no matter what men seem to have more control.
In the reading it says ” this raises the question whether men and woman today can ever achieve mutuality and wholeness. ” The reading says that as long people attach stigmas to the interchanging of roles that this division of humans into men and woman will continue. it is rather wiser for a person to live outside of their limits then to be constricted by them, said the article. Regardless of what society thinks now regarding gender roles of the Lakota people i hope that they continue to push the boundaries because their acceptance is admirable.