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The North American Indian


Excerpt: ...had given the women. He explained that he had told the chief of the women what they were expected to do, but she refused to listen to him, and he was powerless to do more. Then the head-chief went to his wife and demanded to know why she had refused to issue his orders to the women. She curtly replied that that was her business and not his; as it was, the women did more work than the men, for they tilled the fields, made the clothing, cared for the children, and did the cooking, while the men did practically nothing, so if they chose to spend a few days in idleness, it was nothing more than they had a right to do and no one's concern but their own. The chief became angry, and during a quarrel that ensued he was told that he and all his followers might leave if they would, for the women could get along better without them. Remonstrance and reasoning availed nothing; the chief of the women grew more vehement as she argued, so the head-chief determined to put the women to the test. The following morning he issued orders that all the men in camp prepare to depart, for the women had declared they could live better independently of them and were to be given an opportunity to do so. Having decided to cross the great river flowing from the east, work at once began on four large cottonwood rafts to be used as ferries. Four days it took to put all in readiness, and at dawn of the fifth day the crossing of the stream began. Orders were issued that all food supplies, clothing, and utensils be left with the women, save enough seed corn to plant crops the next spring, and no males, infant or aged, were to be left behind. Four nu tl (hermaphrodites) objected strongly at being taken from the women, but were forced to join the men, as they were needed pg 086 to care for the babies. Four old cripples, too weak to move, were left behind, but other than these not a male inhabitant remained in the old village at the end of four days. After all had crossed the river, ... Hide synopsis

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