“Women voted here before Columbus” lecture and book signing with Dr. Sally Roesch Wagner
May 30 @ 11:00 am - 12:30 pm$10
Location: Fireside Room at the Wullschleger Education Building (92 Huguenot Street).
Imagine that women have the right to choose all political representatives, removing from office anyone who doesn’t make wise decisions for the future. Living in a world free from violence against them, women will not allow a man to hold office if he has violated a woman. Economically independent, they have the final say in matters of war and peace and the absolute right to their own bodies.
This is not a dream. Haudenosaunee (traditional Iroquois) women have had this authority – and more — since long before Christopher Columbus.
While white women were the property of their husbands and considered dead in the law, Haudenosaunee women had more authority and status before Columbus than United States women have today.
Women of the Six Nation Iroquois Confederacy (the Haudenosaunee) had the responsibility for putting in place the male leaders. They had control of their own bodies and were economically independent. Rape and wife beating were rare and dealt with harshly; committing violence against a woman kept a man from becoming Chief in this egalitarian, gender-balanced society.
When women in New York State began to organize for their rights in 1848, they took their cue from the nearby Haudenosaunee communities, where women lived in the world that non-native women dreamed.
Amazingly, despite the assimilation policy of the United States, Haudenosaunee women still maintain much of this authority today.
Awarded one of the first doctorates in the country for work in women’s studies (UC Santa Cruz) and a founder of one the first college-level women’s studies programs in the United States (CSU Sacramento), Dr. Sally Roesch Wagner has taught women’s studies courses for 50 years. She edited the intersectional anthology, The Women’s Suffrage Movement (Penguin Classics, 2019) and currently serves as an adjunct faculty member in The Renée Crown University Honors Program, Syracuse University and the St. John Fisher Executive Leadership Program.
She wrote the faculty guide for Not for Ourselves Alone, Ken Burns’ documentary on Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony, and has appeared in that film and numerous history films and radio programs. Dr. Wagner was selected as one of “21 Leaders for the 21st Century” by Women’s E-News in 2015. She serves on the New York Suffrage Centennial Commission.
Founder and Executive Director of the Matilda Joslyn Gage Center for Social Justice Dialogue in Fayetteville, New York, she received the Katherine Coffey Award for outstanding service to museology from the Mid-Atlantic Association of Museums in 2012.
This lecture is part of the HHS 2020 Women’s Suffrage Speaker series.