NORWICH – On Sunday, the Chenango County Historical Society will host noted women’s historian Sally Roesch Wagner, presenting the topic “Iroquois Influence on the Women’s Rights Movement.” The lecture is based on Dr. Wagner’s landmark book Sisters in Spirit: Haudenosaunee (Iroquois) Influence on Early American Feminists (Native Voices, 2001), which will also be offered for sale. The program is sponsored by The New York State Council For The Humanities.
On the cutting edge of feminist scholarship, Sally Roesch Wagner describes how women of the Six Nations Iroquois Confederacy inspired early feminists by providing a model of empowered women. At a time when Euro-American women had few rights, Haudenosaunee women possessed decisive political voice, personal rights and freedoms, satisfying work and a society virtually free of rape and domestic violence. The thinking of Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Matilda Joslyn Gage became transformed through their involvement with their indigenous neighbors in upstate New York. Interactions with the people of the Onondaga Nation, Dr. Wagner observes, provided our foremothers not only a model of egalitarian gender relations, but served to inspire Central New York’s radical reform movements relative to health, food and dress.