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Native American women have been largely overlooked in history We know little about their culture and how events in history affected them What we do know about the history of these women is derived from books written by non-natives These people did not always understand what they saw and thus their observations might be flawed Gender also poses problems because Cherokee women and men lived fairly separate lives Native men had virtually no access to the private and cultural lives of Cherokee women There was also a sexual division of labor based on an ancient myth which created two work roles that rarely overlapped Women in Cherokee society held a great deal of power not only because they were women but because they were not treated as inferiors to men This equality of women posed a problem with the addition of European ways to early American society European men were used to treating women as if they served no purposed but to look pretty and obey their husbands or fathers of brothers Cherokee women were not ready to relinquish the power they felt was deserved This was how things had been done for centuries Cherokee women did not want to give that up The history of Cherokee women is not about cultural transformation but cultural persistence They were able to deal with change but still be a part of the Cherokee elite Missionaries and government agents who sought to civilize this tribe but refusal to conform branded Cherokees as barbarians and sought their removal Women lost power in relation to men and dealing with Europeans but that is only a small part of the Cherokee past We must look at how women and men related to each other within their own society and how those relations became a part of the larger debate over Indians and Indian Policy History and Organization The Cherokee are a branch of the Iroquois nation and can
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