Wanano - Marriage and Family



Marriage. Wanano incest regulation forbids marrying or having sexual relations with anyone who is Wanano and, conversely, requires that one marry into a different language and kin group. Each sib maintains ongoing marital alliances with several sibs of other language groups. The strongly stated preferences of sister exchange and marriage with a patrilateral cross cousin govern marriage practices.

Domestic Unit. The Wanano formerly occupied communal longhouses inhabited by men of a single sib with their wives and offspring. Today they inhabit smaller dwellings that house a single extended or nuclear family. The village mimics the longhouse, in which sleeping compartments housed separate nuclear families.

Inheritance. Inheritance is ordered through membership in a descent group. Each sib controls a limited set of names, which are its exclusive property and which mark the membership of individuals. Descent-group membership carries with it rights to certain linguistic and ritual properties, rights to manufacture and trade certain ceremonial and utilitarian objects, and rights of access to resources within the sphere of the local descent group.

Socialization. During the first year mothers carry infants close to their bodies in cotton or bark-cloth slings. Children continue to stay close to their mothers until they enter the village peer group. Once they are part of the village play group children are relatively independent, although girls are expected to accompany mothers in gardening and food preparation. Many Wanano villages now contain small bilingual schools; high-school facilities are available for Wanano who wish to leave home to study.


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