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Roles of Men & Women – Native Americans 

For the tribes of Native America, no matter where they lived, there was a lot of work that needed to be done for the whole group to survive.  

The entire tribe needed food, shelter, clothing, and they needed protection against wild animals and other tribes that could become hostile.

An Indian Chief Holding A War Hatchet

As in all societies throughout the world, jobs for survival were divided among those who couldbest do the job.

So, every man, woman, and child contributed in some way so that the tribe could live comfortably and survive winter hardships.

Each member had a role and responsibilities, and these were all similar across most of the tribes of Native America.

Petro Glyphs

Role of the Men of the Tribe

When a boy turned 8 or 9, his training was taken over by his father and he was taught how to hunt and be a warrior.

The most important job of the men of the tribe was fishing and hunting animals for food.

They brought the animals back to the village and skinned the animals, divided the meat among the families, and gave the hides to the women to cure.

The men used the cured (tanned) hides to cover the teepees or longhouses.

Nothing was wasted when an animal was killed; the flesh was eaten or smoked, sinew (tendons) were used as thread, and the bones could be used in many ways.

Indians Hunting Buffalo In The Winter

The men made weapons, such as bows and arrows, spears, and clubs, axes, and knives. They had the job of protecting the village against wild animals and enemy raiding parties.

The men also made boats from logs and canoes from birch bark and animal hides. They made these crafts waterproof by painting them with pitch or sap.


One tribesman was chosen to be the leader or Chief and the religious leader like the Shaman and the Medicine Man.

Sometimes, but not often, a wise and elderly woman could be the Medicine Woman of the tribe.

Medicine Shield

Role of the Women of the Tribe

The women of the tribe were in charge of everything within the home, such as preparing meals, sewing, finding firewood, and bringing water.

Women would plant the crops and harvest what was grown. Sometimes the men would help with this task.

Green Corn Ceremony Minatarrees

They prepared the killed animals by skinning, cleaning, and tanning the hides to make leather. They used tanned leather to make pieces of clothing, such as leggings, moccasins, shirts, dresses, and tunics.

They smoked the meat and the fish so it would keep all winter. They gathered fruit, nuts, and wild vegetables. The women also wove baskets from reeds and made pots from clay. They also wove blankets.

Ardina Moore Ribbonwork

Chiefs Blanket

The women were in charge of raising the children and giving each child a job to do. Children were never punished or harshly disciplined.

All little children were taught by the women. When the boys were about 8 or 9 they were taught by their fathers to become hunters and warriors.

Quiz Time!

quiz activity for kids


  1. What was the most important job of the men of the tribe?
  2. After an animal was killed, what happened to the hide?
  3. Why were meat and fish smoked?
  4. Who was in charge of raising the children?
  5. What happened to the boys’ training after they were about 8 years old?

Edwards Curtis Collection People


  1. The most important job for the men of the tribe was to provide food by hunting and fishing.
  2. The hide of an animal was given to the women to cure and make leather.
  3. Meat and fish were smoked so it would keep all winter without spoiling.
  4. The women of the tribe were in charge of the children.

Native Americans

Battle Between Iroquois And Algonquian Tribes

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