Miskito - Kinship



Kin Groups and Descent. Nothing is known about the composition of precontact indigenous kin groups. There is no evidence of descent groups or lineages. Three types of kin groups are recognized today: the taya, the kiamp, and the nuclear family. The taya is a loose kindred including all living persons considered to be Ego's relatives, regardless of where they live. Descendants of Ego's great-grandparents of both mother's and father's families are included. The kiamp includes only part of the taya—all living descendants of a pair identified by the surname of the male. Ego is a member of his father's kiamp. Neither taya nor kiamp serves any corporate function, but both afford oases of hospitality for traveling Miskito. The nuclear family or the household is the usual cooperative domestic group.

Kinship Terminology. Kin terms have undergone changes following contact. The modern kinship system is characterized by Hawaiian cousin terms with bifurcate-collateral terms in the parental generation. Before the twentieth century, cross and parallel cousins were distinguished. Generational depth has declined on both sides of the family.


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