GRE Reading Comprehension
Writing of the Iroquois nation, Smith has argued that through the chiefs council, tribal chiefs traditionally maintained complete control over the political affairs of both the Iroquois tribal league and the individual tribes belonging to the league, whereas the sole jurisdiction over religious affairs resided with the shamans. According to Smith, this division was maintained until the late nineteenth century, when the dissolution of the chiefs' council and the consequent diminishment of the chiefs' political power fostered their increasing involvement in religious affairs.
However, Smith fails to recognize that this division of power between .the tribal chiefs and shamans was not actually rooted iri Iroquois tradition; rather, it resulted from the Iroquois' resettlement on reservations early in the nineteenth century. Prior to resettlement, the chiefs' council controlled only the broad policy of the tribal league; individual tribes had institutions-most important, the longhouse-to govern their own affairs. In the longhouse, the tribe's chief influenced both political and religious affairs.
The primary purpose of the passage is to
- A question the published conclusions of a scholar concerning the history of the Iroquois nation
- B establish the relationship between an earlier scholar's work and new anthropological research
- C summarize scholarly controversy concerning an incident from Iroquois history.
- D trace two generations of scholarly opinion concerning Iroquois social institutions
- E differentiate between Iroquois political practices and Iroquois religious practices
Correct Answer: A