The women of the Haudenosaunee Confederacy have been held in esteem and living in equality with men for centuries. The freedoms enjoyed by Haudenosaunee women during the 19th century were very glaringly not experienced by the non-Native women of the same time period.
In her book Sisters in Spirit: Haudenosaunee (Iroquois) Influence on Early American Feminists, Sally Roesch Wagner, Ph.D., succinctly spells out the differences between the two groups in the following excerpt:
“Matilda Joslyn Gage and Elizabeth Cady Stanton, the major theoreticians of the woman’s rights movement, claimed the society in which they lived was based on the oppression of women. Haudenosaunee society, on the other hand, was organized to maintain a balance of equality between women and men.”
Shown here are the contrasting differences between the two worlds of women who lived side-by-side in this region of upstate New York in 1848.