Who led Native American clans and What role did women play in village councils?

Local problems and disputes were usually settled by village councils.

In these councils, each clan was represented by several men. These leaders were chosen by the clan’s most prominent women, known as clan mothers. Although these women could not speak in council, they wielded the real power.

Before councils were held, clan mothers met and discussed political matters, then explained to their leaders what they should say in the meeting.

Councilmen almost always did as they were told. If they did not, they risked being “dehorned.” At a dehorning ceremony, angry clan women stripped a disobedient clan leader of the special headgear (decorated with deer antlers) that councilmen wore.

Not only did a dehorned councilman lose his position; he was also humiliated in front of everyone in his village.

About Karen Hill

Karen Hill is a freelance writer, editor, and columnist. Born in New York, her work has appeared in the Examiner, Yahoo News, Buzzfeed, among others.

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