Historically, tasks in Southwest societies were organized according to gender. Men and women played mutually supportive roles. Men were responsible for hunting, warfare, and ceremony, while women were responsible for childcare and the preparation of food and clothing. Although it was rare for Apache women to become warriors, they learned to ride and hunt and defend their villages when necessary. Gender roles also existed in the arts. Among Pueblo cultures, men wove textiles while women made pottery. Among the Diné (Navajo), men made jewelry while women were responsible for weaving. Among the Apache, men made tools for hunting and warfare while women made baskets. 

Children learned these roles and responsibilities from a young age, both by observing and helping their elders and through play. Children were treasured, and many beautiful objects were made to hold, clothe, instruct and entertain them.

Today, native men and women occupy a variety of roles in society, but many take seriously their responsibility to pass traditional knowledge and identity down to their children.


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