Listening to Mohawk Women

Oral Tradition and Historiography
Center for American Indian Studies Programs
American Indian Studies Seminar Series
Wednesday, January 23, 2013

5:30 pm to 6:30 pm

TFL

Melissa Adams-Campbell, Northern Illinois University

In contrast to considerable scholarship on Iroquoian diplomacy, warfare, and religion, there is surprisingly little research on post-contact eighteenth-century Haudenosaunee (Iroquois) women. The problem is a perennial lack of primary sources; while historians have a substantial archive of masculine oratorical, diplomatic, and religious materials, there is simply less source material on women.  This essay uses original interview materials collected from members of the Mohawk Nation at Akwesasne to draw attention to eighteenth and nineteenth-century Mohawk women’s significant participation in social, political, and “private” decision-making, but also to consider the practical and ethical gains of integrating oral tradition materials into the scholarship on Haudenasaunee women.

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