Matriarchal Secrets

I don’t know if I should share some of this. It’s, after all, not really my place. But I want to share with non-Natives different ways of life; ways that can inspire us, encourage us and which we can draw upon. Even if we don’t adopt those ways, we can learn from them.

My daughter, as everyone knows, comes from a “full blood” Choctaw family. The Choctaws were matriarchal.  The traditional ones pretty much still are.

My daughter’s great-grandmother was named Lillian. She lived to be very old. When she was born, she wasn’t a citizen of the United States. For Native Americans, that came much later and tribal people felt differing ways about it.

We went several times to visit Lillian. They used to have gatherings every Sunday at her house.

I’m a white observer. I’m no anthropologist. I don’t belong, in any way, shape or form to the clan. I’m just along for the ride with my family. But there would be a whole slew of people who came to Lillian’s house. The first thing each of them would do was kiss her on top of the head.

Here’s a woman who had, if memory serves, 16 kids. And each one who was there–their kids, and grand kids–would kiss her on top of the head.

It’s a small symbol, but it was meaningful to me to see it. Even if you’re not Native and not matriarchal, you can surely kiss the matriarch in your life on top of the head (presuming she allows it).

That’s a matriarchal secret. The small ways in which women, givers of life, are honored.

 

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