In this book, she has exposed how war, diseases and pandemics, trade and feminism influenced by Foucault power, made women of Montagnais Indians and Huron vulnerable to suppression. In the past, the Huron women always handled antagonism that included torture, warfare, mental implications, dreaming and acting out of dreams in a manner that was clearly outlined and set by their tradition. This made the women of Huron Montagnais independent and suffices in handling their own issues. This, however, changed when the Jesuits belittle the social institution rendering the traditional sequence of settling unease and social tensions unworkable making these women who were fully governed by such be subjugated and turned into stuff of male chauvinism and aggression.
Anderson believed the Jesuits had succeeded in changing the indigenous gender relation within the thirty years through the incorporation of their own way of living upon the natives. The procedural and peaceful manner under which the Huron and Montagnais women solved their issues, according to the Jesuits, never exposed their feminism and disregarded the male audacity. They treated this aspect as awful, wild and unruly and thus looked down upon the social laws and institutions. This was because they believed that the powers had mandated the women to out step into issues that did not suit their sexuality. To reverse this state, a crisis that lead to severe consequences such as feminine, diseases and epidemics and unrest was initiated by the European. The Jesuit missionaries, as a result, got their roots to the native who slowly agreed to the Christian faith that evil were as a result of women disobedience. In this case, the author elaborated how this aspect made the women vulnerable and how employing Foucault power subjugated the women.
The first section of Anderson’s work has clearly and sequentially outlined major implication and background of Jesuit-Montagnais and Jesuit-Huron. From her book, Jesuit’s work was conceited with malevolence. Their achievement and success were linked regarded as overcoming the evil forces, and hence this was a true reflection of certain customs of Christianity of the seventeenth century. During this period, women were no less considered as being lower than men and believed to be a source of evil in the society. The tradition the Jesuits found in Huron, according to their belief and doctrines made the society much prevalent to evil deeds and this could only be done away by the conceptualization of the Christian faith alongside meticulous guideline of women’s matrimonial relations, sexuality and their love life
This perception alongside decadence of the social institution in the native America made the women’s roles and status are neglected in Indian society, Montagnais until recently. The native women had been marginalized in Huron and Montagnais, and this is the author’s point of view in the book “Chain Her by One Foot: The Subjection of Women in Seventeenth-Century New France”. The American native women went through sexism and racism of a different kind during the seventeenth century, and this devaluing aspect of the women’s role and discrimination was contributed to by colonization by the European and the influence of the Jesuit Missionaries in Huron and Montagnais. The author has repeatedly states that there was complete alteration in the interactions, qualities and characterization on issues that pertained to both the women and men in the two society; Montagnais and Huron.
The second section of her book tackles the presumptions and rejoinder Montagnais and Huron society to Jesuit Missionaries and European colonialist. According to Anderson, the two societies were egalitarian and vividly outlines that the ravages of European epidemics, feminine and inter-tribal warfare were the major contributing factors to the failure of societal and institutional laws and native religion displacement of Huron and Montagnais society. Women were incorporated into Christian hood and, therefore, become subjected to iniquity. Traditional belief channeled the iniquities to convenience such as witchcraft and sorcery were reverted to the feminine gender. The repercussion of such upon women was subjugation of women, discrimination and dictatorship by men.
A similar study on a closely related topic to Anderson’s work by Carol Devens, “Countering Colonization: Native American Women and Great Lakes Missions” states that the colonialists through the Missionaries played a critical role on political, economic and social exploitation of the natives and specifically the women in America. In her book, gender relations between the Montagnais-Naskapi, Ojibwa and Cree to the protestant missionaries are clearly deliberated. The interaction brought about by trade between the missions and the economics gave preference to women and, as a result, created division based on sexuality. She, however, focused much on the consequences of this division rather than the causes. She alludes that trade sidelined women from taking part in political relations and economic partnership. This subjected the women to suppression and intimidation despite the efforts to be conservative of their tradition.
This postulation on subjugation of women by Karen Anderson, however, were not fully persuasive since much of her claims appeared are profligate as most of what others considered as provisional she turns into absolute claim. She has employed sufficient theoretical support in elaborations on the social crisis and ideological Native American society in the book. This calls for intense deliberation as it provided conditions for personal and combined reformulations of prejudice and social relations. Regardless of this, I believe Karen’s book has had far reaching influence and consideration on the current definition of the feminine roles and duties which include conjugal relation and sexuality. Intimidation of women and subjugation is wrong and should not be tolerated in the modern society today. This work, therefore, is highly useful in the study of gender and study of the past as it avails readings about the European colonialists and the Jesuit missionaries and their relation to the native Huron and Montagnais society.