Carib of Dominica - Kinship



Kin Groups and Descent. Social networks of friends and selected relatives structure personal relationships far more than do any exclusive kin-based groups. Which relatives an individual turns to for assistance of any sort depends on personal preferences and calculations rather than any standardized kinship roles. Most children are given the father's surname, and most maintain far stronger ties to the mother than to the father, but the Carib kinship system is bilateral. Godparent/godchild relationships are common and usually considered binding. The only corporate kin-based groups are households.

Kinship Terminology. Carib kinship terminology differs little from that found throughout the English-speaking Western Hemisphere. Common-law spouses are usually identified as "boyfriend" and "girlfriend" rather than by kin terms. The term "mother" may be used by a child in reference to anyone given major responsibility for that child's care, whether she is a birth parent's sister or mother or even an otherwise unrelated female.


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