Functional differentiation among Native Americans

I found the following passage from The Indian World of George Washington interesting because it suggests a kind of functional differentiation among the Shawnees, who lived primarily in Ohio Valley in the 17th-18th centuries. It’s not the kind of functional differentiation we observe in contemporary global society, but it is interesting nonetheless:

The Shawnees traditionally comprised five divisions, or societal clans, each with its own area of responsibility for the welfare of the tribe. The Chillicothe and Thawekila divisions took care of political matters and generally supplied tribal political leaders; the Mekoches were concerned with health and medicine and provided healers and counselors; the Pekowis were responsible for religion and ritual; the Kispokos generally took the lead in preparing and training for war and supplying war chiefs. These divisions were semiautonomous, and their own chiefs, occupied particular towns (often named after the division), and sometimes conducted their own foreign policies with other tribes.

Calloway, C. (2018). The Indian world of George Washington  The first President, the first Americans, and the birth of the nation. New York, NY: Oxford University Press.

So we have politics, healthcare, religion, and war as autopoeitic function systems.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.