Traces of the past: Women’s tasks
Note: Why did girls have to learn women’s responsibilities at such a young age? Why is this no longer the case today?
“To give life, our grandmothers gave birth on their knees and sometimes alone. The placenta was burned out of respect for the blood. Women said they often resumed their daily work the next day. When their daughters had their first period, they became women, and prepared for marriage.
The grandmothers also say that from a very young age, girls learned to make clothes, clean the animals, watch over their siblings and take care of the house. Often it was the girls who had to cut the firewood. The older ones learned to heal with traditional medicine. They collected plants and dried them. They also learned to recognize and watch the cycles of the seasons so that they would know exactly when to pick various plants, because the same plant could poison as well as heal.”
Source: “Innushkueu issishueu,” Rencontre, Vol. 14, No. 1, Fall 1992, pp. 4-5. Cited in Alain Beaulieu, Les autochtones du Québec, Fides, 2000, Québec, p. 87.