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Iroquois Kinship

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Iroquois Kinship
Tiffany Wheeler
ANT 101 Introduction to Cultural Anthropology
Alfred Wilfong
April 17, 2013

Iroquois Kinship
The Iroquois people were very structured, with the women being the top dogs in their social setting. Iroquois women were in control of crops, particularly maize, and that gave them control over more than just a food source. Men were allowed to do their job as long as the women agreed with what they were doing. If women were against a particular raiding activity, they withheld maize from the warriors, which meant the men could not go (Nowak, 1979). Properties were inherited by females, such as land and tools. After marriage, men moved in with their wives to their longhouse.
Marriage was encouraged between what the Iroquois considered cross cousins, which today would be what normal people consider to be their cousins. For example, if someone's maternal uncle married an unrelated woman and they had children, it would be encouraged for the cousins to marry one another. Marriage was a delicate thing, however, because the woman was capable of simply packing her husband's belongings and tossing them outside to get her point across that their marriage was over.
Based on the above information, the biggest example of the way the Iroquois kinship system impacts the way they behave is their matriarchal system. The eldest woman in each longhouse has the authority to determine the rights to property and resources. Another example would be their belief that by marrying cousins it strengthens alliances and ensures that wealth stays in the family. Also, the fact that the women make the decisions regarding divorce impacts their way of life.
Compared to the society I live in, there are a lot of differences. I do not live in a matriarchal society, though our government is overseen by a president. However, he does not make all of the...

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