Catawba - Marriage and Family

Marriage. Catawba marriage rules in aboriginal and early-contact times probably forbade first-cousin marriages. Polygamy was neither unknown nor condemned, but most Marriages were monogamous. In courtship, a man or his relations approached the woman's parents to ask permission, though the woman's consent was also required. Marriages were Matrilocal, and divorce was easily effected by either party.

Domestic Unit. Extended families have been and continue to be the norm.

Inheritance. Matrilineal inheritance was the rule in earlier times; bilateral inheritance obtains today.

Socialization. Catawba child-rearing practices were permissive, with ostracism, ridicule, and example the rule. Folktales were (and to some degree still are) an important educational tool, setting out proper modes of behavior and warning of punishment by native enemies or supernatural beings for those who disobey. Today, formal education is highly valued: there was a primary school on the reservation from 1898 to 1966, and beginning in the 1930s Catawba were attending the local high school. Today many go on to college.

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