Originally Posted by Louise C
Your evidence comes from mythology, which I think is a doubtful source of history. We cannot infer that what is said in myths relates to real life. And in any case, the women in your myths are generally subordinate to the men in their lives, as wives etc. The real power generally belongs to men.
No, my evidence comes from real life. Let me re-post it.
Matrilineality in specific ethnic groups  In America  Lenape
Occupied for 10,000 years by Native Americans, the land that would become New Jersey was overseen by
, who farmed, fished, and hunted upon it. The pattern of their culture was that of a matrilineal agricultural and mobile hunting society that was sustained with fixed, but not permanent, settlements in their clan
Villages were established and relocated as the clans farmed new sections of the land when soil fertility lessened and when they moved among their fishing and hunting grounds by seasons. The area was claimed as a part of the Dutch
province dating from 1614, where active trading in furs took advantage of the natural pass west, but the Lenape prevented permanent settlement beyond what is now Jersey City.
"Early Europeans who first wrote about these Indians found matrilineal social organization to be unfamiliar and perplexing. ... As a result, the early records are full of 'clues' about early Lenape society, but were usually written by observers who did not fully understand what they were seeing."  In Africa  Akan
Some 20 million
live in Africa, particularly in
and Côte d'Ivoire
. (See as well their subgroup, the
, also called Asante.) Many but not all of the Akan still (2001)
practice their traditional matrilineal customs, living in their traditional
households, as follows. The traditional Akan economic, political and social organization is based on matrilineal lineages, which are the basis of inheritance and succession. A lineage is defined as all those related by
from a particular ancestress. Several lineages are grouped into a political unit
headed by a chief and a council of elders, each of whom is the elected head of a lineage — which itself may include multiple extended-family households. Public offices are thus vested in the lineage, as are land tenure and other lineage property. In other words, lineage property is inherited only by matrilineal kin.
Each lineage controls the lineage land farmed by its members, functions together in the veneration of its ancestors, supervises marriages of its members, and settles internal disputes among its members.
The political units above are likewise grouped into eight larger groups called
), named Aduana, Agona, Asakyiri, Asenie, Asona, Bretuo, Ekuona and Oyoko. The members of each abusua
are united by their belief that they are all descended from the same ancient ancestress. Marriage between members of the same abusua
is forbidden. One inherits or is a lifelong member of the lineage, the political unit, and the abusua
of one's mother, regardless of one's gender and/or marriage. Note that members and their spouses thus belong to different abusuas
, mother and children living and working in one household and their husband/father living and working in a different household.
According to this source
of further information about the Akan, "A man is strongly related to his mother's brother (wɔfa) but only weakly related to his father's brother. This must be viewed in the context of a
society in which the mother/child bond is likely to be much stronger than the father/child bond. As a result, in inheritance, a man's nephew (sister's son) will have priority over his own son. Uncle-nephew relationships therefore assume a dominant position."
"The principles governing inheritance stress sex, generation and age — that is to say, men come before women and seniors before juniors." When a woman’s brothers are available, a consideration of generational seniority stipulates that the line of brothers be exhausted before the right to inherit lineage property passes down to the next senior genealogical generation of sisters' sons. Finally, "it is when all possible male heirs have been exhausted that the females" may inherit.
Certain other aspects of the Akan culture are determined
rather than matrilineally. There are 12 patrilineal
(which means spirit) groups, and everyone belongs to their father's Ntoro group but not to his (matrilineal) family lineage and abusua
. Each patrilineal Ntoro group has its own surnames,
taboos, ritual purifications, and etiquette.
A recent (2001) book
provides this update on the Akan: Some families are changing from the above abusua
structure to the
Housing, childcare, education, daily work, and elder care etc. are then handled by that individual family rather than by the abusua
or clan, especially in the city.
The above taboo on marriage within one's abusua is sometimes ignored, but "clan membership" is still important,
with many people still living in the abusua
framework presented above.  Tuareg
(Arabic:طوارق, sometimes spelled Touareg in French, or Twareg in English) are a
ethnic group found across several nations in north Africa, including
. The Tuareg are clan
and are (still, in 2007) "largely matrilineal".
The Tuareg are
, but mixed with a "heavy dose" of their pre-existing beliefs including matrilineality.
Tuareg women enjoy high status within their society, compared with their
counterparts and with other Berber tribes: Tuareg social status is transmitted through women, with residence often
Most women could read and write, while most men were illiterate, concerning themselves mainly with herding livestock and other male activities.
The livestock and other movable property were owned by the women, whereas personal property is owned and inherited regardless of gender.
Remarkably, men wear veils but women do not.
This custom is discussed in more detail in the Tuareg article's clothing section
, which mentions it may be the protection needed against the blowing sand while traversing the
.  Serer
are patrilineal (simanGol
) as well as matrilineal (tim 
). There are several
. Some of these matriarchs include
(1367) — matriarchs of the
which also became a dynasty in
or maternal clans form part of Serer medieval
history, such as the
. The most revered clans tend to be rather ancient and form part of
clans hold great significance in
. Some of these proto-Serer matriclans include the Cegandum
, whose historical account is enshrined in Serer religion, mythology and
In Serer culture, inheritance is both matrilineal and patrilineal.
It all depends on the asset being inherited — i.e. whether the asset is a paternal asset — requiring paternal inheritance (kucarla 
) or a maternal asset — requiring maternal inheritance (den yaay 
or ƭeen yaay 
). The actual handling of these maternal assets (such as jewelry, land, livestock, equipment or furniture, etc.) is discussed in the subsection Role of the Tokoor
of one of the above-listed main articles.  In Asia  China
were derived matrilineally, although by the time of the
(1600 to 1046
) they had become patrilineal.
for "surname" (姓) still contains a female radical, suggesting its matrilineal
Archaeological data supports the theory that during the Neolithic period, Chinese matrilineal clans evolved into the usual patrilineal families by passing through a transitional patrilineal clan phase. Evidence includes elaborate and highly adorned burials for young women in early Neolithic
cemeteries, but increasing elaboration of male burials toward the late Neolithic period. 
Relatively isolated ethnic minorities such as the
(Na) in southwestern China are highly matrilineal, and use matrilineal family names
. (See the General practice
section of the
article).  Việt Nam
Most ethnic groups classified as "Montagnards
" are matrilineal.  India
Several communities in South India practiced matrilineality, especially the
in the state of
in the states of Kerala and
. The system of inheritance was known as
in the Nair
in the Bunt
community, and both communities were subdivided into
. This system was exceptional in the sense that it was one of the few traditional systems in western historical records of India that gave women some liberty and the right to property.
In the matrilineal system, the family lived together in a
which was composed of a mother, her brothers and younger sisters, and her children. The oldest male member was known as the karanavar
and was the head of the household, managing the family estate. Lineage was traced through the mother, and the children belonged to the mother's family. All family property was jointly owned. In the event of a partition, the shares of the children were clubbed with that of the mother. The karanavar's property was inherited by his sisters' sons rather than his own sons. For further information see the articles
The Marumakkathayam system is not very common in Kerala and Karnataka these days for many reasons. Society has become much more cosmopolitan and modern. Men seek jobs away from their hometown and take their wives and children along with them. In this scenario, a joint-family system is no longer viable. But conceivably, there might still be a few tharavads that pay homage to this system.  In Oceania  Minangkabau
, a person's
name is important in their marriage and their other cultural-related events.
Two totally unrelated people who share the same clan name can never be married because they are considered to be from the same clan mother (unless they come from distant villages). Likewise, when
meet total strangers who share the same clan name, anywhere in Indonesia, they could theoretically expect to feel that they are distant relatives.
Minang people do not have a family name or surname; neither is one's important clan name included in one's name; instead one's name is only one's
are one of the world's largest matrilineal societies/cultures/ethnic groups, with a population of 4 million in their home province
in Indonesia and about 4 million elsewhere, mostly in Indonesia. The Minang people are well-known within their country for their tradition of matrilineality and for their "dedication to Islam" — despite Islam being "supposedly patrilineal".
This well-known accommodation, between their traditional complex of customs, called
, and their religion, was actually worked out to help end the Minangkabau 1821-37
This source is available online.
As further described in the same online source, their (matrilineal) adat
and their Islam religion each help the other to avoid the extremes of some modern global trends: Their strong belief in and practice of adat
helps their Islam religion to not
adopt a "simplistic anti-Western" version of Islam, while their strong belief in and practice of both Islam and adat
helps the Minangs to limit or avoid some undesired effects of modern global capitalism.
(A version of this paragraph can also be found in a different context, in the Minangkabau article's Adat and religion
A similar culture is present in Negeri Sembilan, Malaysia ever since West Sumatrans settled there in the 14th century.  Marshallese people and other islanders
On many islands in the pacific, such as Republic of the Marshall Islands, Solomon Islands (particularly in Guadalcanal, Isabel, Shortlands/Makira, and Bougainville ) and Vanuatu (Torba, Espiritu Santo, Penama, Efate),
matralineal societies exist.