Baffinland Inuit - Marriage and Family

Marriage. Traditionally, marriage took place through an arrangement made for children by adults when the two Children were young. Since the rigors of life could not guarantee the eventual joining of these individuals, it was not uncommon for parents to create such an arrangement just prior to the marriage. Men usually moved to the village of the wife's parents. The duration of this depended on the social position and economic circumstances of the two families and on the overall availability of either eligible males or females. Polygamous unions existed, and there could be unions that represented significant age differences between the partners.

Domestic Unit. New domestic units were created when a couple had their first child. This nuclear unit usually remained within the parental dwelling, but as the number of children increased, a new residence would be created usually close to the parental home. Since adoption of grandchildren by grandparents was common, the actual development of new nuclear families could be delayed. In the new communities there has been a breakdown of arranged marriages, and young adults often express their independence through exercising their own choice of partner. There is also a tendency especially for young women to remain unmarried, but pregnancies often occur and the child is usually adopted by parents or other members of the extended family.

Socialization. The socialization of children has undergone significant change since the creation of modern Communities. In the past, the immediate family, including especially the grandparents, was responsible for much of the socialization. Children were involved in a continuous process of education that tended to shift its emphasis as the child matured. The early stages of development were defined by tolerance and affection. As a child grew older, affection was replaced by a stress on independence. Learning took place by example and was often integrated with play. Male roles and female roles were part of this play. As a child grew older, play gave way to more useful work, and there was an emphasis on tasks that would be incorporated into their older and more productive stages of life. The productive stage could begin before marriage and lasted until age set limits on the type of activities a male or female could carry out. At this point they moved into a stage in which they became more valuable as possessors of information, including family history and myth. In today's world the complexity of community life means that this process has broken down. The primary exception is during the spring and summer when children, parents, and elders are often together in smaller hunting camps. For the most part, however, the school, television, and other imported Institutions have either replaced or, more often, come into conflict with traditional ways of socializing the young.

User Contributions:

Ayebare Patricia Loyce
What are the marriage types in this society?were they centralised or decentralised?

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