American Indian Women

Published on August 23, 2011 by Amy

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Photo by David H. Davis
Native American Women
[Photo by David H. Davis]

While most people think of males as the strong, big chiefs of Indian tribes, the Indian women played and still play an essential and integral role in Indian life. Women were extremely important in the building and assembling of homes and lodging. The women would even design and erect an entire teepee themselves. These teepees were usually made of animal hides, sticks, and brush.

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While Indian women had a myriad of important roles, perhaps none was as important as the raising of children. Just as mothers today are integral in taking care of their children, so were the Indian women, whose goal was to teach their offspring the cultures and practices of the tribe as early in life as possible. Babies were carried on the back in either a cradleboard or a papoose. The reason the women carried them on the back was so that they could still have both hands free, allowing them the ability to continue working.

In addition to raising the children of the tribe, Indian women were also responsible for the planting and harvesting of fruits and vegetables. In addition, the women washed clothing, harvested and cut firewood, and cooked for the entire tribe. They also made their own tools and cooking pots, as well as baskets. Of course, there was free time for the Indian women to enjoy doing things of leisure such as making jewelry and weaving rugs. In some tribes, the women were even the hunters of food, tracking down and killing buffalo. The women would then skin them, and pull the met from the bones and cook what was left for everyone to eat. Indian women have always been a true symbol of strength and bravery, proving that the woman does have an important place in our society, stretching back over the many canvases of time.

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Based on the collective work of, © 2015 Native American Encyclopedia.
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