WHY GENDER ROLES ARE NOT ONLY NORMAL BUT ESSENTIAL IN TRADITIONAL LOKONO-ARAWAK SOCIETY
Let us 'briefly' examine the role & rights of Lokono-Arawak women and men in a traditional Lokono-Arawak society.
Firstly, it is to be noted that each gender had specific tasks to do, there was never this 'preoccupation/fixation' on "a woman can do everything a man can do" or the converse "a man can do everything a woman can do"...because such a belief is FALSE.
No female can teach a male what it is to be male - and no male can teach a female what it is to be female...how can you be an authority on something that you yourself are not?
We might TRY our best to do this in the absence of the true authority on the matter, but it can never be achieved as perfectly as if the genuine authority on the gender in question is there to transmit this very different (literally - as the sexes utilize different sides of the brain) way of thinking...no matter how 'two spirited' you are or think you are.
I can lecture my daughters on what a lady should be like, and my wife can lecture my sons on what a gentleman can be like, but I cannot tell my daughter 'from experience' that I 'know' what you are going through during puberty...and likewise my wife cannot tell my sons 'from experience' that she 'knows' what they are going through during puberty.....I never had menstruation and associated cramps....and she never had a wet dream (and woke up trying to bore a hole in the mattress with her penis lol) or experienced a 'cracked voice'....and that is just the physical aspects, we have different emotional outlooks as well - and we cannot comprehensively know what the opposite gender experiences when given identical stimuli.
There is a reason why opposites attract, the Ying and the Yang, the male and the female, and why any other combination is a biological dead end from the very laws of Nature - though it may be satisfying to the participants on other levels. This is how EVERY single one of us came into existence, whether you consider that FACT to be 'politically correct' or not...it is reality, a minority of humans today are the product of a different reality (in vitro fertilization) which circumvents the laws of nature as it applies to human beings, but my focus and concern are not with the technological experimentation of mortal men, and it has never been thus inclined; I am a traditionalist....so getting back to traditional Lokono-Arawak society:
Like many Amerindian peoples of Amazonia, a non-Amerindian casual observer would see an Amerindian man walking at the front of the line as his family makes an overland trek by foot - with only weapons in his hand (bow, arrows, spear, etc.), and see the wife following behind with a full warishi (traditional load bearing woven back-pack) on her back suspended by a headband...and this non-Amerindian observer would immediately assume that "Amerindian women do all the work like servants and the men do nothing but carry a light load of their own weapons".
But it is NOT that simple at all, the husband's main duty is to protect his wife and children (hence the weapons in hand ready to spring into action to defend them against natural predators or other humans), and to secure game that by luck and chance may present themselves on this trek - so that he can provide food for his wife and children (hence the weapons in hand ready to spring into action to secure a meal). If he does kill an animal it is a source of excitement for the whole family, the sons (if any) learn to hunt and all the protocols associated with it (pray for the animal spirit's forgiveness before shooting, pray for the arrow/spear to be straight and true, pray again to the animal's spirit thanking it for allowing you to kill it so you can feed your family) and gut the prey by watching (and assisting) dad, and the daughters (if any) learn to clean and cook the animal by watching (and assisting) mum. They all enjoy the meal together.
Also on this trek, dad in front is pointing out edible fruit and root crops, medicinal plants, the names and different types of animals and plants, or geographic features that characterize the topography through which they are traversing....so every journey is a comprehensive education and mobile classroom in itself....hence no need to gather our children in a fixed location 5 days a week in order to 'teach them' all they needed to know...ALL your life lessons were learned during the natural course of living your life.
By going on treks with my wife's brothers I learned to tell the different types of tracks made by different animals, the size of the animal (an adult peccary/young deer/medium-sized Armadillo, etc.) that made the track, the general time the animal made that track (1 hour ago/last night/or a few minutes ago, etc).
By the age of 9 every traditional Amerindian girl could prepare and cook an entire meal for her family in case mum or dad was ill, dad tended to cook less than mom, but it was not unprecedented, as when the men and/or boys were out on overnight hunting and fishing trips they had to cook for themselves - so boys had to know how to cook, even if they usually let the women do it most of the time.
By the age of 9 every traditional Amerindian girl also knew how to bathe, clean, put to sleep, and tatoo their younger siblings (tidy the house and environs), tend to the pets, help weave and plait straw, (that their brothers/dad harvested), and chew cassava (with other children) to make Cassava beer that the adults (mostly men) consumed... as practicing this not only helped mom to do other things in her daily life - but was allowing the girls to learn the skills a future wife and mother had to be proficient at.
Upon her first menses - a traditional Lokono-Arawak girl was secluded for 9 days - with just enough food (no meat just a small piece of cassava bread - and even THIS she had to share - so that she remembers that generosity to others is MORE important than satisfying your own hunger) and water to keep her alive but never to fill her stomach, one bath a day at a certain time, not to see any males (sometimes this applied to males outside of her immediate family, some cases no males period), and must learn various traditional women's skills, etc. My eldest daughter Sabantho underwent this when she was 12, and our youngest daughter Laliwa did when she was 13 - as soon as her first menses appeared (and if that occurs in the middle of the school term - too bad - she would be sequestered from school for the 9 days, same as her sister, her mother, her maternal grandmother, her maternal great-grandmother etc - back through time - have experienced.
Now, traditionally, once a girl completes this 9-day rite of passage, she is no longer considered a little girl but is now a young woman - eligible to marry.
However, my daughter though biologically at this threshold - is still psychologically unqualified to become a wife, and the life we live today with much of each year in the western world - even the trend of marrying at 17 (like her mother) is unlikely, neither are we in any hurry to part with our daughter - unlike so many who have been ready to part with theirs at her age (in their defense - they still live in a more traditional environment so it works for them).
It did not stop a group of 4 -6 young Lokono boys about 15 years old on average, from frequenting (reminiscent of how male dogs frequent the location of a menstruating she-dog) the house where my daughter was sequestered - once she had completed her puberty rite, hoping that I as her father would be now ready to offer her as a bride to any young man that impressed both her and my wife and myself (and for reasons stated above we were not impressed at this time). Even though where we were, was a house 1 mile from the next closest neighbor on the reservation, these lads walked 3 miles daily (from the center of the village) all the way south to where my daughter was (like Rapunzel) just to catch a glimpse, or smile, or wave from our daughter from afar each day LOL (talk about infatuation).
To learn even MORE about the aspects of Lokono-Arawak Culture NO other publication on Earth has ever covered in as much detail, you can buy my book called 'Lokono Arawaks', google that title to find it on Amazon in hardcover, or in e-book form on 10 different platforms including the Apple Store and for Android - at Nook (the Barnes & Noble e-book site). You can also find it and my 10 other books in the SHOP (drop-down menu to PUBLICATIONS) section of our website below:
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My wife and youngest daughter 9 years ago in the jungles of the 240 sq mile Pakuri Lokono-Arawak Autonomous Tribal Territory in Guyana where they were born.