In rural societies, equity in land is key to women's position, much as wage labor is in urban, industrial society. Access to productive property is especially important to women in marginalized, subjugated, or newly arrived racial-ethnic groups. The ownership of land shapes the resources that women and men can differentially obtain, control, and utilize. Native American, African American, and immigrant women obtained land in a variety of ways: allotment, purchase, homesteading, and inheritance. Ownership enabled them to cultivate land to support the family, rent it out for income, and exercise the leverage it provided them throughout their lives. Using cases spanning the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, we explore landholding from the perspectives of Dakota and Scandinavian immigrant women on the Northern Plains and African American women in the South. Through careful attention to what women made of the land they owned, we can better understand gender and power in a settler colonialist society.


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pp. 251-272
Launched on MUSE
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