Archaeologies

, Volume 7, Issue 1, pp 121–153

Engendering New Netherland: Implications for Interpreting Early Colonial Societies

Research

Abstract

Here, we study the Algonquian and Iroquoian women who lived in settlements surrounding the Dutch colony of New Netherland, in today’s northeastern United States. We begin by examining their roles in the colony and find that their lives did not fall into the pattern of servitude, concubinage, culture-brokering, and intermarriage that many have seen as the fate of Native or African women in other colonial societies. Instead, these women were, by and large, independent agents and followed their own indigenous customs as they interacted with Europeans. We then go on to explore how this new revisionist view of their actions affects archaeological interpretations of their households and the households of the Europeans as well. We further point out how the role of Native women in New Netherland was influenced in part by the presence and absence of other groups of women—both European and African—there.

Key Words

Gender Native American women Women traders Sexuality New Netherland Colonialism Site interpretation 

Résumé

Nous étudions dans le présent document les femmes algonquines et iroquoises qui vécurent dans les établissements de population autour de la colonie néerlandaise de la Nouvelle-Hollande, dans les États-Unis du nord-est d’aujourd’hui. Nous commençons par l’étude de leurs rôles dans la colonie et découvrons que leurs vies ne se conformaient pas aux modèles de servitude, de concubinage, de courtage culturel et de mariage mixte que beaucoup ont vu comme ce qui advenait des femmes aborigènes ou africaines dans les autres sociétés coloniales. Au contraire, ces femmes ont été dans l’ensemble des représentantes indépendantes et suivaient leurs propres traditions locales lors de leur entrée en contact avec les Européens. Nous poursuivons en examinant comment cette nouvelle vision révisionniste de leurs actions a influencé les interprétations archéologiques de leurs ménages, ainsi que des ménages des Européens. Nous soulignons de quelle manière le rôle des femmes autochtones en Nouvelle-Hollande a été influencé par la présence et l’absence d’autres groupes de femmes, à la fois européennes et africaines dans cette région.

Resumen

En el presente trabajo estudiamos a las mujeres algonquinas e iroquesas que vivían en los asentamientos que rodeaban la colonia holandesa de Nuevos Países Bajos, en lo que hoy es la zona noreste de los Estados Unidos. Comenzamos analizando su papel en la colonia y descubrimos que sus vidas no se corresponden con los patrones de servidumbre, concubinato, intermediación cultural y matrimonios mixtos que muchos consideran como inevitable destino de las mujeres nativas o africanas en otras sociedades coloniales. Más bien al contrario: estas mujeres son, en su inmensa mayoría, personas independientes y siguen sus propias costumbres indígenas en su interacción con los europeos. Posteriormente procedemos a analizar cómo esta nueva visión revisionista de sus acciones afecta a las interpretaciones arqueológicas de sus hogares y también de los hogares de los europeos. Más adelante destacamos la influencia que la presencia y la ausencia de otros grupos de mujeres (tanto europeas como africanas) tuvieron en el papel de las mujeres nativas en Nuevos Países Bajos.

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Copyright information

© World Archaeological Congress 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Rutgers University-NewarkNewarkUSA
  2. 2.The City College of the City University of New YorkNew YorkUSA

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