American Indian women in the 1800s had it far tougher than you can imagine. When the men went on a buffalo hunt and slew hundreds of the huge, shaggy beasts, who do you think did the skinning, the cutting of the meat, the drying, the hide tanning, the recovery of all parts useable? The women. Could you fathom your husband telling you to delve up to your elbows into the bloody insides of an animal that big? I can't.
Women were charged with repopulating the tribe so as I mentioned in yesterday's blog, it was
The very place that some young women were born, also served as a place they spent their menstruating time. Women having their monthly time were considered to possess spirits dangerous to the virility and strength of the braves in the tribe. For that reason, during those days of the month, menstruating women were isolated from the rest of the tribe. Yeah, right. Like God didn't make us suffer enough with cramps and bleeding, now we have to go spend seven days in a little hut, away from everyone else. I don't think so. Men should fear us. I guess maybe PMS was around, just not named back then.
The end of the first period for a Sioux maiden was a time for celebration. Her friends were treated to a feast, given gifts, and listened to chants recited by the tribal Shaman as he paid homage to the Buffalo Woman deity. The American Indians were big on rituals and celebrations. BTW, I celebrated the end of my LAST period in June 1995. No more buying pads, no more cranky moods, no more monthly agony. No feasts or parties, but a cause for celebration nonetheless.
One of my favorite books is White Heart, Lakota Spirit. In this novel, I explore a white woman's shock and surprise at being taken captive by the Lakota and seeing how different her life was even then. You can find a copy on Amazon/