A Maternal clan system can be likened to a matrilineal descent system. Wikipedia defines Matrilineality as the tracing of the descent of a clan through the female line. Wikipedia also describes that in a matrilineal descent system, an individual is considered to belong to the same descent group as their mother. A matrilineal clan might be descended from one or several or many unrelated female ancestors.
The Free Dictionary defines the matrilineal clan as one of the socioeconomic units of primitive society. The clan is blood-kin related through the maternal line that recognizes its unity, as reflected in clan names, totemism, and descriptions of the matrilineal clan as “those from one womb” or “one bone.” The matrilineal clan exists among many tribes and peoples at different stages of pre-class society, including some Australian Aborigines, Melanesians, and Amerindians.
Wikipedia defines Clan Mothers as the elder matriarch women within certain Native American clans who were by tradition in charge of appointing tribal chiefs and Faithkeepers. Examples of clan mothers from this source are the following.
Hopi Clan Mothers
Diana LeBow based on the work of Alice Schlegel concluded that Hopi women “participate fully in … political decision-making.” Schlegel explained that the Hopi women predominated the household within the economic and social systems in contrast to the male who predominated within the political and ceremonial systems. The Clan Mother was empowered to overturn land distribution by men if there was unfairness.
Iroquois Clan Mothers
The clan mothers were in charge of the various clans that made up the Iroquois League. The Iroquois clan mother was responsible for the welfare of the clan. It was the clan mother that named all the people of the clan. She had the power to nominate, install and remove the male chief. The clan mothers were really the life givers. The clan mothers had each a Faithkeeper who was responsible for ceremonies and rituals, including weddings and funerals. The position of clan mother was heritable. The title was passed on to her female relatives, by this order: eldest sisters, first, other sisters, then her eldest daughter and other daughters. In a typical clan in a village, there would be about 50 to 200 members, headed by a clan mother. Two groups were formed in every clan called moieties who were in charge of various rituals.
Doug George-Kanentiio in his work in 2000 wrote that the women made decisions on any and all issues involving territory and land use, including where to build the community. In the political system, their leaders were selected by a caucus of women. The women did the monitoring of the actions of the men and even had the right to veto any law that they considered not appropriate. The women not only held the reigns of political and economic power but they also had the right to determine all issues involving the taking of human life. Any declaration of war had to be approved by the women, while treaties of peace were subject to their deliberations.

Pin It on Pinterest

Shares
Share This
%d bloggers like this: