In the matrilinear and matrilocal Wendat society, with a subsistence economy based on horticulture (primarily corn for food and trading), women were held in great respect.
Bruce Trigger, in ‘The Huron; Farmers of the North’ wrote:
”While public political activities were exclusively men’s business, [Wendat] women played an important role in political decision making. They not only appointed and could dismiss chiefs, but their views, and especially those of older women, were conveyed to the local council through the men who attended it. If these opinions were not listened to, the male participants could anticipate serious trouble when they returned to their longhouses.”
”In general, women had a special interest in issues relating to community life, while men were more concerned with relations between communities.”
”[Wendat] women were the guardians of family and community traditions, while men, who spent more time visiting far off peoples, were more used to, and tolerant of, cultural differences. Yet men and women both had a significant input into most discussions of public policy. For example, Chiefs had to obtain permission from women before they could take teenage boys away from the community on trading or military expeditions. This gave women a significant voice in the conduct of foreign affairs.”
Trigger’s passages come from the book, ‘Huron-Wendat:The Heritage of the Circle’ by George E. Sioui who was born in Wendaké (Village-des-Hurons), Quebec, in 1948, and received both his MA (1987) and his Ph.D. (1991) in History from Laval University. He was responsible for the creation and implementation of governmental policies in matters of preservation and development of Aboriginal cultures in Canada.