Did matriarchal societies exist? The question is asked because there’s a debate whether or not matriarchal societies existed. Whether or not they existed will be addressed in two parts, and while that has been discussed here before, let us do so again with Barbara Alice Mann’s question, “Where Are All Your Women?” in Unlearning the Language of Conquest Scholars Expose Anti-Indianism in America. “Where Are Your Women?: Missing In Action,” by Barbara Alice Mann. p. 121, 122, 124. Let this be part one of answering “did matriarchal societies exist?”
…in the often fractious discussions of the extent of Native American contributions to modern Euro – American culture, the glaring omission of women continues almost utterly unaddressed…Worse, from the European perspective, was the level of political clout wielded by woodlands women. The sixteenth – century Spaniards in La Florida (the whole American southwest) were nonplussed by matrilineage and the cacicas (female chiefs) with whom they were forced to deal…Spanish frustration was not a little focused on Guale females, who undermined patriarchal tampering with Guale culture…In 1724, the Jesuit missionary Joseph Francois Lafitau recorded in astonishment that Haudenosaunee women were “the souls of the councils…” Judicial affairs so entirely belonged to women that any woodlands man who wished to become a jurist or a negotiator had first to have been “made a woman” in order to be qualified for the job…
Mann then proceeds to outline the methods of genocide and cultural genocide used to destroy “the level of political clout wielded by woodlands women.” She tells how the Spanish forced these women “to scalp their own sons, husbands, fathers, and brothers,” and then Mann outlines “pen – and – ink witchcraft.” “Pen – and – ink witchcraft” can be thought of as deliberately revising history. Mann continues to discuss how the “pen – and – ink witchcraft” was used in attempting to change the character and even the very gender of various entities in creation stories. Let that be part one of answering “did matriarchal societies exist?” Now for the second part.
Archie Fire Lame Deer, a Lakota Medicine Man tells briefly of his travels to France in a prehistoric cave with his daughter, while he was with a guide he described as a “spiritual man.” Once inside the cave he discovered commonalities in terms of imagery between his father’s Yuwipi ceremonies and the imagery of the Black Madonna. Next, he learned that medicine men and Black Madonnas shared the same tragic fate.
I found the image of a buffalo carved out of the living rock with water from a sacred spring flowing from its mouth. While I was contemplating this, I heard (his daughter) holler, “Daddy, quick, come here!” – There revealed a face exactly like the one my father always used during his Yuwipi ceremonies –
Then our guide said, “All this goes back thousands of years before Christianity.” – (He) kept the image of a dark-skinned prophetess that nowadays is called the “Black Madonna.” He told me, “They called her and her sisters witches and burned them at the stake.”
“I know all about this,” I said. “They called our medicine men witch doctors and shot them dead for the same reasons.” He went on, “This here has survived. Few have been inside this cave. You have been chosen.”
Spanish forced women “to scalp their own sons, husbands, fathers, and brothers,” Christians in the relevant time “called her and her sisters witches and burned them at the stake,” and “they called our medicine men witch doctors and shot them dead for the same reasons.”
Is there any wonder why the modern, patriarchal Religious Right has all three branches of government of the most powerful country in the world under its control? So too, as “Pen – and – ink witchcraft” deliberately revises history on a daily basis, they maintain their stolen power. Are their ancestors proud, or do they weep? I doubt the modern patriarchal Religious Right believes their ancestors are in hell. That, is their problem. Fear-based avoids what fear-based fears.
The answer to whether or not matriarchal societies exist(ed) or not? It is affirmative they did if and only if one recolonizes historical revisionism and treats that revisionism as the distraction laced with patriarchal bigotry it has. Conclusively, “such an order of female-dominated social and cultic custom is termed, in a broad and general way, the order of Mother Right. And opposed to such, without quarter, is the order of the Patriarchy, with an ardor of righteous eloquence and a fury of fire and sword.”
“For it is now perfectly clear that before the violent entry of the late Bronze and early Iron Age nomadic Aryan cattle-herders from the north and Semitic sheep-and-goat-herders from the south into the old cult sites of the ancient world, there had prevailed in that world an essentially organic, vegetal, non-heroic view of the nature and necessities of life that was completely repugnant to those lion hearts for whom not the patient toil of earth but the battle spear and its plunder were the source of both wealth and joy. In the older mother myths and rites the light and darker aspects of the mixed thing that is life had been honored equally and together, whereas in the later, male-oriented, patriarchal myths, all that is good and noble was attributed to the new, heroic master of gods, leaving to the native nature powers the character only of darkness–to which, also, a negative moral judgment now was added. For, as a great body of evidence shows, the social as well as mythic orders of the two contrasting ways of life were opposed. Where the goddess had been venerated as the giver and supporter of life as well as consumer of the dead, women as her representatives had been accorded a paramount position in society as well as in cult. Such an order of female-dominated social and cultic custom is termed, in a broad and general way, the order of Mother Right. And opposed to such, without quarter, is the order of the Patriarchy, with an ardor of righteous eloquence and a fury of fire and sword.”