North Carolina History Digital Textbook Project

Two worlds: Educator's guide

By Pauline S. Johnson

ATTENTION USERS

LEARN NC is no longer supported by the UNC School of Education and has been permanently archived. On February 1st, 2018, you will only be able to access these resources through the Internet Archive’s Wayback Machine. We recommend that you print or download resources you may need before February 1st, 2018, after which, you will have to follow these instructions in order to access those resources.

These questions will help to guide students’ reading of “Cherokee Women” and encourage them to think critically about the text. The questions focus primarily on the Cherokee matrilineal kinship system and on the cultural differences between the Cherokee and the Europeans who arrived in the early 1700s.

Worksheet: Cherokee Women

  1. Dr. Perdue writes that the white men who visited the Cherokee in the 1700s were amazed by the position of Cherokee women. Why do you think that was the case?
  2. Describe in your own words the Cherokee matrilineal kinship system.
  3. What do you find the most surprising about the system?
  4. Why do you think the Europeans were so surprised that Cherokee women were the heads of the households?
  5. In the Cherokee and other Native American cultures, which gender was mostly in charge of farming?
    For the European settlers, which gender would do most of the work for farming?
  6. Why could this have led to misunderstanding?
  7. What kind of misunderstandings could have developed?
  8. How could these misunderstandings have influenced the relationship between the two cultures as they met and interacted?
  9. What rights and responsibilities did Cherokee women have that they lost as the white Americans began to dominate their culture?

Worksheet: Teacher’s guide

  1. Dr. Perdue writes that the white men who visited the Cherokee in the 1700s were amazed by the position of Cherokee women. Why do you think that was the case?
    Students should understand that the European cultures were dominated by men, so they would have been surprised at the power and influence of Cherokee women.
  2. Describe in your own words the Cherokee matrilineal kinship system.
    Students should include the major components: a person is related only through the mother, he/she is not related to the father. They may also indicate the relationships with grandparents and uncles.
  3. What do you find the most surprising about the system?
    Most will indicate that the children were not related to the fathers, but other answers are possible.
  4. Why do you think the Europeans were so surprised that Cherokee women were the heads of the households?
    Answers will vary. Most should have some indication that European men were the heads of households.
  5. In the Cherokee and other Native American cultures, which gender was mostly in charge of farming?
    Female
    For the European settlers, which gender would do most of the work for farming?
    Male
  6. Why could this have led to misunderstanding?
    The groups were totally opposite in this.
  7. What kind of misunderstandings could have developed?
    Answers will vary. You may want to lead the students to discover that the Native Americans could have believed that European men were unmanly since they were doing “women’s work.” On the other side, the Europeans could have believed that the Native men were “lazy” since they mostly witnessed women doing work.
  8. How could these misunderstandings have influenced the relationship between the two cultures as they met and interacted?
    Answers will vary. Each group would have incorrect ideas about the men of the other culture. There could be a lack of respect and an underestimation of the other group.
  9. What rights and responsibilities did Cherokee women have that they lost as the white Americans began to dominate their culture?
    Most students will indicate some of those listed in the reading: ”At this time white Americans did not believe that it was proper for women to fight wars, vote, speak in public, work outside the home, or even control their own children.”

North Carolina curriculum alignment

Social Studies (2003)

Grade 8

  • Goal 1: The learner will analyze important geographic, political, economic, and social aspects of life in the region prior to the Revolutionary Period.
    • Objective 1.02: Identify and describe American Indians who inhabited the regions that became Carolina and assess their impact on the colony.

  • North Carolina Essential Standards
    • Social Studies (2010)
      • Grade 8

        • 8.C.1 Understand how different cultures influenced North Carolina and the United States. 8.C.1.1 Explain how exploration and colonization influenced Africa, Europe and the Americas (e.g. Columbian exchange, slavery and the decline of the American Indian populations)....