Q3. Explain the role of an Indian band leader (known as sachem or sagamore). How did he gain and keep his position? What were his duties and how did the value of reciprocity function in his relationship with the band? Explain who pnieses and powwows were.
The sagamore or sachems primary duties were to mediate between clans and to engage in inter-tribal diplomacy. Anything that required greater coordination efforts beyond that of families or clans, such as large-scale hunting, was the sachems responsibility. The European observers were often horrified that the sachems position depended upon the collective will of the people, versus that of European monarchs, the latter of whom ruled by force and heredity, Some sagamores did claim to have shamanistic powers that caused them to be more “dreaded” (Salisbury 44). However, most sagamores depended upon counsels of pnieses and powwows, which were made up of other members of the tribe who had communicated with deities.
This legislature and the sagamores reciprocal relationship with his advisors as well as the populace that supported him further dissipated the power held in the hands of the sagamore (Salisbury 43-44).
Q4a. How did the Indians of southern New England maintain equal resources between families in order to avoid vengeance and conflict and maintain equality among all members of the band?
An elaborate system of redistributing wealth was used to create more harmonious society amongst the southern Indians. Ceremonial games which the Europeans saw as mere gambling created a state of social homeostasis (Salisbury 44-46). When sachems ritually lost some of these games, this reinforced the equality of social relationships within the tribe, despite the leaders additional formal powers (Salisbury 46). Material possessions were also sometimes sacrificed to deities, which deemphasized the social importance of such goods within.