ERIC Number: ED232794
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1982-Dec-5
Reference Count: 0
Women's Life Course in Northern Plains Indian Societies: Achieving the Honored Rank of Old Lady.
Kehoe, Alice B.
Among Indian groups of the Northwestern Plains (Blackfoot, Plains Cree, Dakota, Plains Ojibwa), older persons are respected for the spiritual power they have obtained. Differences exist between the several ethnic groups, but in general they assume that attainment of maturity and then old age proves spiritual power and makes the elder a proper model of behavior. Both men and women are respected for the spiritual power they embody, but different roads exist for the two sexes. Mrs. Winona Frank is an exemplar of the model Plains Cree woman, skilled in all womanly arts and spiritually powerful. Mrs. Frank's father, through a long apprenticeship, became a priest-healer. Mrs. Frank lived with and assisted her grandmother and became an apprentice herbalist and midwife, a role less prestigious than her father's; however, her status is acknowledged by her being seated with other elders within the Sun Dance lodge during the annual ceremony. Blackfoot women tend to be more fiercely independent than Cree women, to demand respect; the Blackfoot Sun Dance can be held only if a respected woman will serve as Holy Woman. Plains Indians see women and their activities as complementary to, rather than inferior or subordinate to, those of men. (MH)
Publication Type: Opinion Papers; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers: Blackfoot (Tribe); Cree (Tribe)
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the American Anthropological Association (Washington, DC, December 3-7, 1982).