Salon #04 - January 16, 2021

Heide Goettner-Abendroth and Barbara Mann

Dr. Heide Goettner-Abendroth

Presentation title: Matriarchal Politics and the Practice of Gift Giving

Matriarchal Politics is based on modern Matriarchal Studies; its intention is to create egalitarian, peaceful societies. How this goal can be achieved, is shown to us by still extant matriarchal societies, whose traditions go back to millennia.

Their economical, political, societal and spiritual patterns are of the utmost interest; they demonstrate how societies can be created and maintained free of violence and based on gender-balance and the practice oft gift giving.

Some ideas are presented how we can achieve a modern matriarchal society here and now. The relevance of the Gift Economy for the vision of a new matriarchal society will be explored.

Dr. Heide Goettner-Abendroth is a mother and a grandmother. She earned her Ph.D. in philosophy of science at the University of Munich where she lectured for ten years (1973-1983).

She has published on philosophy of science, and extensively on matriarchal society and culture, and through her lifelong research on matriarchal societies has become a founder of Modern Matriarchal Studies. Her magnum opus: Matriarchal Societies. Studies on Indigenous Cultures across the Globe, (New York 2013, Peter Lang) defines scientifically this new field of knowledge and provides a world tour of examples of contemporary matriarchal cultures.

She has been visiting professor at the University of Montreal in Canada, and the University of Innsbruck in Austria. She lectured extensively at home and abroad. In 1986, she founded the “International ACADEMY HAGIA for Matriarchal Studies” in Germany, and since then has been its director.

She guided three World Congresses on Matriarchal Studies: 2003 in Luxembourg, 2005 in Texas, U.S., and 2011 in Switzerland.

In 2012, she received an award for her scholarship from “The Association for the Study of Women & Mythology” in San Francisco. She was twice a nominee for the Nobel Peace Prize, in 2005 by a Swiss initiative, 2007 by a finish initiative.

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Barbara Mann

Presentation title: It Takes Two to Tango

The matriarchies of Indigenous America were built on the concept of the mutually entwined Twinship of “Blood” (water, land) and “Breath” (air, spatiality). Economically, the sacred Twinship plays out between the clan halves (“moieties”), constructed to reflect the cosmic halves that are maintained by the regular presentation of goods and services necessary to life.

Giftings can occur at any time, but happen regularly at festivals; at councils; at first meetings of groups previously unknown to one another; or when one group has more than it needs, whereas another known group has less than it needs. Equality of value is not the purpose of the gift, so that everyone can partake. If all one has to give is a curious rock, then one still receives a buffalo robe.

To the extent still possible in the continuing, internal colonialism in the Americas, Indigenous people continue the traditions of gifting to cement old relations and to widen the circle to include new ones.

BARBARA ALICE MANN, is a Ph.D. scholar and Professor in the Honors College of the University of Toledo, in Toledo, Ohio, USA. She has authored fifteen books, the latest of which are President by Massacre: Indian-Killing for Political Gain (2019) and Spirits of Blood, Spirits of Breath: The Twinned Cosmos of Indigenous America (2016). Other works include The Tainted Gift (2009), on the deliberate spread of disease to Natives by settlers as a land-clearing tactic. Dr. Mann is currently working on an international project examining historical massacres, around the world 1780–1820, and is participating in book project on that. Her internationally noted Iroquoian Women: The Gantowisas (2001, 2004, 2006) is in its third printing. Two other internationally known books include George Washington’s War on Native America (2005, 2007), Daughters of Mother Earth (2006, out in paperback as Make a Beautiful Way, 2008). She has published over 400 articles and chapters since 1995. She lives in her homeland and works for the rights of the people indigenous to Ohio, living in Ohio. (“Ohio” is a Seneca word meaning “Beautiful River,” a spiritual designation.) An Ohio Bear Clan Seneca, with community recognition, she was for twenty years the Speaker and/or Northern Director of the Native American Alliance of Ohio.

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