A Necessary Balance:Gender and Power among Indians of the Columbia Plateau

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A Necessary Balance:Gender and Power among Indians of the Columbia Plateau
Volume 246 in The Civilization of the American Indian Series "Little has been written on the tribal nations of the Plateau, much less on women's lives and experiences. Ackerman's book is a unique contribution because it makes a forceful case for taking the egalitarian complexion of Plateau tribes seriously."-Patricia C. Albers, author of Exhibitions, Powwows, and Feasts: Ceremonial Persistence under Change In the past, many Native American cultures have treated women and men as equals. In A Necessary Balance, Lillian A. Ackerman examines the balance of power and responsibility between men and women within each of the eleven Plateau Indian tribes who live today on the Colville Indian Reservation in north-central Washington State. Ackerman analyzes tribal cultures over three historical periods lasting more than a century--the traditional past, the farming phase when Indians were forced onto the reservation, and the twentieth-century industrial present. Ackerman examines gender equality in terms of power, authority, and autonomy in four social spheres: economic, domestic, political, and religious. Although early explorers and anthropologists noted isolated instances of gender equality among Plateau Indians, A Necessary Balance is the first book-length examination of a culture that has practiced such equality from its early days of hunting and gathering to the present day. Ackerman's findings also relate to an examination of European and American cultures, calling into question the current assumption that gender equality ceases to be possible with the advent of industrialization. Lillian A. Ackerman [Adjunct Faculty] Washington State University, Pullman, is an ethnographer specializing in the Plateau Culture Area. She is the editor of A Song to the Creator: Traditional Arts of Native American Womenof the Plateau and co-editor with Laura Klein of Women and Power in Native North America, both published by the University of Oklahoma Press.
Publication Date: 
January 20, 2014