Delaware - Marriage and Family

Marriage. The traditional groups were lineage exogamous, and residence was matrilocal. Polygamy was permitted, but after contact women seem to have preferred to marry or live among the colonists rather than to become secondary wives. Divorce was common and could be initiated by either party.

Domestic Unit. Nuclear families have always been the rule among the Lenape.

Inheritance. In the 1600s most of a person's belongings were placed in the grave. By 1700 the relatives contributed food to a feast and secured goods to bury with the deceased as well as to distribute to participants in the burial rituals, not all of whom were close kin.

Socialization. Children were seldom punished. Low-level social controls plus the rigors of foraging life provided sufficient behavioral controls in the past.

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