Re: Patriarchy: Re: What Matriarchy?

William Edward Woody (
Sat, 27 Jul 1996 18:04:48 -0700

In article <4tdlmp$>, (Bryant) wrote:

> Mary Beth Williams <> wrote:
> >I would disagree with Smuts regarding patrilocality being nearly
> >universal, as this is certainly _not_ the case in many hunter-gatherer
> >and agricultural societies, particularly in the Western Hemisphere.
> >Mississippian society was matrilocal (see Buikstra's work on the
> >subject), and most Eastern Woodland groups continue to be matrilocal,
> >as well as matrilineal (my own included).
> I don't recall what or whom she cited to support her conclusion. "Most"
> need only mean that 51% of the cultures from HRAF or some other
> ethnographic condendum meet criteria for a given trait.

And poor littl' old me, comming from a distinctly patriarchical Indian
society. The Salinans were matrilineal for a simple reason: without
monogamy, it's damned hard to figure out who the father is. But you
can always see who the baby pops out of.

But don't take that as meaning that women were held in any high regard
for doing anything but 'women folk things', or that women were even
allowed to participate in the political or economic decisions that
affected the tribe. This later trait (that women have had a voice
_at_all_ within the tribal hierarchy) has only been true within the
last thirty years or so.

And visit many reservations in California, and you'll find that most
places, the men (and men only!) are holders of political and economic
power. Power may be dolled out to the women, but generally the only
power that is handed out effects stuff the men don't want to screw with.

- Bill

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