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Abigail Adams To Joe Pitts: All Men Would Be Tyrants If They Could

It was Abigail Adams who wrote to her husband John Adams, second president of the United States, when he was busy in Philadelphia founding the country:

“…remember the ladies, and be more generous and favorable to them than your ancestors. Do not put such unlimited power into the hands of the Husbands. Remember all Men would be tyrants if they could. If particular care and attention is not paid to the Ladies we are determined to foment a Rebellion, and will not hold ourselves bound by any Laws in which we have no voice, or Representation.”

Our Spittin Out the Pitts Campaign to elect Aryanna Strader in Pennsylvania’s 16th district is inspired by the words of America’s second first lady.

The Spittin’ Sisters would also like to point out that at least some of North America’s indigenous populations gave women far more authority than the settlers who arrived in America to wipe them out.

Seeing this Cherokee proverb visual circulating yesterday on Facebook, I Googled for more information about Cherokee households and communities at the time the first settlers arrived. My search took me to the North Carolina Digital History project’s article on Cherokee women.

Perhaps because women were so important in the family and in the economy, they also had a voice in government. The Cherokees made decisions only after they discussed an issue for a long time and agreed on what they should do. The council meetings at which decisions were made were open to everyone including women. Women participated actively. Sometimes they urged the men to go to war to avenge an earlier enemy attack. At other times they advised peace. Women occasionally even fought in battles beside the men. The Cherokees called these women “War Women,” and all the people respected and honored them for their bravery.

By the 1800s the Cherokees had lost their independence and had become dominated by white Americans. 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. The Cherokees began to imitate whites, and Cherokee women lost much of their power and prestige. In the twentieth century, all women have had to struggle to acquire many of those rights which Cherokee women once freely enjoyed.

Searching for news of the relationship between religion and the Cherokee nation, I learned of the Cherokee Healing and Wellness Coalition and their 2012 Journey to Forgiveness.

The Cherokee practiced their way of life for 10,000 years in what is today North Carolina and other Southeastern states.

In the winter of 1838-1839, the US federal government forcibly removed 15- 17,000 Cherokees from their homes, marching them to Oklahoma so that white settlers could take their land. This march, ordered by Andrew Jackson’s Indian removal policy, was called the “Trail of Tears”.  Over 4,000 Cherokees died of hunger, disease and exhaustion on the march to Oklahoma, writes PBS.

Coming closer to the Spittin’ Sister in Philadelphia’s territory, we read that the Carlisle Indian School or Carlisle Industrial Training School, was the first of US government boarding schools and founded by Army Col. William Pratt, whose philosophy was “Kill the Indian in him, and save the man.”

The drive to acculturation for American Indians was full of discipline. Teachers sheared children’s hair, banned traditional dress and customs, with a broad list of punishments for uncooperative children. “I was forced to eat an entire bar of soap for speaking my language,” says AIUSA activist Byron Wesley (Navajo).

The current drive against American women led by men like Joe Pitts does not compare to the horrors perpetrated against the Cherokee Indian women living on these lands when the first settlers arrived in Pennsylvania, North Carolina and other original states.

What Pitts does share with the early settlers is a very traditional view of women’s rights and role in family — and not the more expansive view of women’s contributions embraced by the indigenous cultures of many American Indians including the Cherokees.

The march of American feminism from getting the vote to hearing a Republican Supreme Court agree that women’s right to birth control and abortion are legal rights protected under the Constitution is fighting its biggest challenge in decades. The Cherokee women lost their battle against men who professed no respect for cultures in which roles are shared and women act as leaders in their communities.

This is why we must defeat Joe Pitts and elect Aryanna Strader to Congress. Pitts doesn’t only make laws for the women of Pennsylvania. As top gun in the House on legislation moving to control women’s bodies in every aspect, Joe Pitts has moved to leave his values and social engineering imprint on the lives of all American women.

The Spittin’ Sisters are inspired by Abigal Adams and we close with her wisdom, a message to Republicans and blue dog Democrats both:

If particular care and attention is not paid to the Ladies we are determined to foment a Rebellion, and will not hold ourselves bound by any Laws in which we have no voice, or Representation.”

If particular care and attention is not paid to the Ladies we are determined to foment a Rebellion, and will not hold ourselves bound by any Laws in which we have no voice, or Representation.”

Join the ‘Spittin Sisters’ on Facebook.

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