|Women of the Longhouse|
|If you are a Tribal Woman of one of the Four Wendat Nations and registered on their rolls, you may be interested in joining the Longhouse Women Egroup to share and explore our heritage. Please be prepared to provide the name of your family.|
| As Wendat Women, we lived a simple but complex life responsible for the economic and political foundation of our people. The term economic refers to the exclusive responsibility of the woman for planting and farming. (note: the men were responsible for clearing the fields prior to the planting) The term political referring to the role of selecting the leaders of the community and all property was owned by the woman (a matrilineal society – all the family lines were through the woman). In addition, there was a “natural” separation between the men and the women based on their daily life functions.
“Almost every task was considered to be either exclusively men’s work or exclusively woman’s work, and every Huron was expected to be familiar with all or most of the tasks appropriate to his or her sex. For the most part, men engaged in tasks that required considerable physical strength, or which took them away from home for long periods. Women performed tasks of a more routine nature that kept them in, or close to, their villages.” (page 34, CA)
As the above statement supports that women were the chief farmers of the village, we had a strong responsibility for feeding the people. The information also suggests that the Huron diet was three quarters based on corn which was supplemented by the hunting of the men for predominately fish and then other meats such as deer.
The corn was described as being flour and flint corn. I am not sure if that is the actual name of the corn or if it infers the way the corn was being used. I would like very much to have some of the corn seeds. Women would plant the seeds in mounds about two to three feet in diameter and as it grew, she diligently had to tend it by pulling weeds. There were two to three ears on each stalk and 4 or more inches long bearing 100 to 650 kernels of corn per cob. It took 100 days to rippen for the Flint Corn and 130 days for the flour corn.
Examine the heavy dependance on corn and include the fact that the men would trade excess corn with other tribes in order to obtain items such as clothing or other needed items. This is a lot of work. It is estimated that we needed 1.3 pounds of corn a day per family member.
Women spent long hours and days of their time in the fields and village with each other as the men did not work in the fields (exception - clearning the fields)
| The comments on this page are based on information found in Bruce Trigger's Book called, "The Children of Aataentsic" (CA - pgs 34-40) and "Huron Wendat, The Heritage of the Circle", written by our own Wendat tribal member, Georges Sioui (HW - pgs 36-41) The comments are not exclusively from these two books; however, for reference purposes for those of you that wish to do further research, the books are a starting point. Note: If you had not known (or realized) Aataentsic is the name of the Woman Who Fell From the Sky in our Creation Myth story.
Deep within each of you are the seeds of the women who lived the life that has been depicted by the historic writings of the men who were explorers for thier own countries (such as France) and adventurers, Jesuit Priests, traders or anthropological-type historians. In all cases that I have come across thus far, men have compiled the information. If you are aware of any writtings by female; please let us know right away.
The purpose of sharing my comments are to familiarize you with the roots of whence we came. I do this layer by layer, precept upon precept in small excerpts. You may already be familiar with this basic information; however did not know exactly where it came from. We are all anxious to get into deeper issues, but building a foundation takes time. For many years most of you have been living in cities and in a lifestyle that does not permit you to understand the deep spiritual significance of many problems that you face. All along, if you fully understood where you came from and if you relized some of the feelings you are having are “natural to you as a Wendat-Huron woman”. Some of your children may have strong conflicts within themselves because they do not understand emotions that they are experiencing.
Each one of you have come from several different Nations of people. The choice has been yours to decide which road to travel. It is evident that you have decided to explore your Huron-Wendat roots or you would not be here. In all cases, the four colors of human beings are a beautiful people.
|Page updated 11/2009|