Current Lectures by Sally Roesch Wagner

“Meet the woman who was ahead of the woman who was ahead of her time”

With these words Gloria Steinem describes Matilda Joslyn Gage, the forgotten feminist who was considered equal in leadership with Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony during her time. Adopted into the wolf clan of the Mohawk nation and supporter of native sovereignty and treaty rights, Gage acknowledged the superior position of Haudenosaunee (Iroquois) women, drawing inspiration from their model. She advocated civil rights, the separation of church and state and inspired her son-in-law L. Frank Baum to create a feminist utopia in his 14 Oz books. Written out of history for her challenge to religious fundamentalism, Gage stands as a beacon today in the struggle for peace and justice.

“Sisters in Spirit: the Haudenosaunee influence on early American feminists”

On the cutting edge of feminist scholarship, Sally Roesch Wagner describes how women of the Six Nations Iroquois Confederacy (the Haudenosuanee)  inspired the revolutionary vision of early feminists by providing a model of empowered women. At a time when Euro-American women were under the authority of men in all areas of their lives, Haudenosaunee women possessed decisive political voice, control of their bodies and property, custody of the children they bore, satisfying work and a society virtually free of rape and domestic violence. The thinking of Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Matilda Joslyn Gage became transformed through their involvement with their Indigenous neighbors in upstate New York. Wagner’s presentation is based upon her book, Sisters in Spirit: The Haudenosaunee (Iroquois) Influence on Early American Feminists.

What People Say … about Sally Roesch Wagner’s lectures

Sally’s skill in research is obvious, and she is also blessed with a wonderful presentation style which stimulates thought. She made me feel like I could have been one of the early pioneers making friends with the Native women.AAUW Regional Conference, Rapid City, South Dakota

We had a standing room only crowd … it was an historic moment as this new research created cross-cultural connections for women’s hope in society and made us think differently about our roles. Elizabeth Cady Stanton Foundation, Seneca Falls, NY

… terrific and high impact. The strong connection between women’s rights and civil rights and the importance of human rights struggles was beautifully documented. William Patterson College, NJ

One of the few educational programs which directly, assertively and seriously attends to the issue(s) of race and gender. University of California Polytechnic, San Luis Obispo, California

… top notch scholarship, sensitive presentation. University of California, Davis

Although she is not proud of it, it took Sally Roesch Wagner 17 years to realize the diffusion of culture works both ways. “While clearly the white agenda was to try to turn the Indians into white people … because the Indians had such an extraordinarily developed and exemplary culture, a lot of white people became like Indians or adopted part of the culture,” Wagner said. The Associated Press