Re: WANTED: A good ethnography on culture in the U.S.

thomas w kavanagh (tkavanag@INDIANA.EDU)
Wed, 24 Jan 1996 22:25:37 -0500

On Wed, 24 Jan 1996, Ruby Rohrlich wrote:

> Although some anthropologists - Judith Brown, Eleanor
> Leacock and I -- have taught and written about the egalitarianism of
> American Indians, particularly the Iroquois Confederacy

I am interested in how you consider the Hodenausaunee "egalitarian." As
defined by Fried, an egalitarian society is one which "there are as many
positions of prestige in any given age-sex grade as there are persons
capable of filling them" (1967:33). This would seem not to apply to the
Hodenausaunee, or at least to the formal political aspects of the
"League," in which only certain specific clans and lineages in those clans
had/have control of the council chief positions. Moreover, the Tuscarora
have no representation in the formal councils. In what ways does the Clan
Mother of a non-represented clan have the kind of authority that a
represented Clan Mother has?