Women and the Wilderness

By Carla Ferris

This month’s Museum of Motherhood Ecofeminism research included the Women’s Wilderness Program and Early Native American women’s roles as hunters. As I ventured through the Women’s Wilderness website and associated articles, I reflected on my hiking days. This is when my church group and I blazed through on a ten-day hike through the upper Yosemite trails.

Our group was able to conquer the trail on top of El Capitan in Yosemite California.  I recall the strengthening training, and jogging events along the California coastal beach. I found my former training was very similar to the training the Women in the Wilderness practice, but nothing like the practices of Indigenous tribes in early American history. While contemporary hiking prep includes boots, plastic bags, sports bras, and sunblock with SPF of 30 +, these first peoples lived much closer to the land and did not require the kind of store-bought items modern day outdoor-types have come to count on, myself included.

In this final post for MOM, I am aiming to connect my modern-day nature experiences to the journal article, Female Hunter of Early America which references Native American women’s roles in the outdoors. In this article, Dr. Haas debates and shows evidence for females as hunters in Early America.  I cannot imagine a more different world than the Californian landscape I have come to expect and the assumptions and traditions I have grown up with in my lifetime. He asserts that some modern historians are now challenging previously held man-as-hunter theories. His labor division philosophy has gained new evidence for women’s roles as hunters. Dr. Haas reveals a young Native American female was found with a hunting tool kit in the Wilamaya Patjxa Native burial site. His findings demonstrate early-Native American women might have been large game hunters.

 As a Public History student, I was delighted to research and explore Ecofeminism concepts during my time at MOM. I am encouraged by the Women’s Wilderness program which continues to benefit young women’s growth, confidence, and leadership skills. I believe Dr. Haas’s article, The Female Hunter of Early America, has a valid stance that introduces a potential image-change with regard to woman’s roles. As my American Public University program is near completion, I am reaching the conclusion of my research goals. I have gained new knowledge of Native American, and Ecofeminism topics.  I appreciate the Museum of Motherhood lens throughout the Internship program and have learned so much through my experiences here.

This site contains outdoor skills, challenges and equipment for women and girls: https://www.womenswilderness.org/   


Science Advances 04 Nov 2020: Vol. 6, no. 45. Female Hunter of Early Americans https://advances.sciencemag.org/content/6/45/eabd0310

When Women Venture Outdoors Together https://www.womenswilderness.org/from-our-instructors/when-women-venture-outdoors-together

Photo by Pixabay.                                                                                                                                

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