Pima Bajo - Marriage and Family



Marriage. Young Pima men and women enter into a conjugal relationship without a church or indigenous ritual, and the first household is usually neolocal within the same paraje as the husband's parents. Common residence for centuries in a restricted environment has led to a high rate of local endogamy between persons within the same or nearby communities. If a Pima woman has a conjugal relationship with a non-Indian, a situation which is rare (a male Pima marrying a non-Indian being even rarer), she usually lives with Pima relatives and raises any offspring as Pima. The non-Indian husband visits occasionally, but eventually deserts the union.

Domestic Unit. The basic unit of the Pima Bajo society is the nuclear family, with widowed parents or other consanguineal or affinal kin living in a one-room household with attached cooking shelter. The landholding unit, the rancho, sometimes includes an unmarried brother and sister or other combination of relatives. Mobile wage earners frequently attach themselves to the households of relatives at the place where they are seeking work, although this residency is not usually long-term. Male relatives will frequently return during planting or harvesting as part of the economic reciprocity established between both consanguineal and affinal relatives to ensure mutual survival.

Inheritance. Land and sometimes livestock are inherited equally among married sons and daughters. The land, however, tends to be held as a cooperative working unit among siblings. The larger tracts of land thus made available with joint tenancy permit more efficient production and the setting aside of fallow lands. If land and cattle are scarce, daughters defer usufruct rights to their brothers. If a man only has daughters, sons-in law can inherit the land after a period of working it. Wage earners must return to help during planting and harvesting to retain the rights of inheritance.

Socialization. Although little is known about the socialization process for Pima living in the lowlands or for females in general, young Yécora males working on the Maycoba ranchos of their immediate family or other relatives undergo socialization experiences quite different from those living in the towns. They learn to farm, hunt, fish, and collect wild plants and acquire knowledge of Pima subsistence techniques. During this time, they learn the importance of reciprocity and strong kinship relationships. They also learn good working habits and important cultural lore, such as mythology.


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