Hopi - Marriage and Family

Marriage. Marriage was monogamous and was believed to last into the afterlife. In theory, people chose their own spouses, but high-ranking families to some extent controlled the marriage choices of their children. The marriage Ceremony involved a short period of groom-service by the bride and an elaborate exchange of goods from both sides. The leading families of high-ranking clans tended to intermarry. Today, social class rather than clanship is a factor in selecting mates as it is in mainstream society, and some persons marry Whites or Indians of other tribes whom they meet at college or at work. Matrilocal residence was the rule. By the mid-1920s, a number of people lived in neolocal households, which predominate today. Marriages dissolved with some frequency. Sexual fidelity was expected, but infidelity was known and often a subject of gossip and conjecture. It was not punished, though separation frequently resulted.

Domestic Unit. During the early nineteenth century, the small extended family was probably most common. By the late nineteenth century and into the twentieth, the matrilocal stem family was the accepted form, with usually the youngest daughter remaining as older daughters and their husbands built houses contiguous or near to the maternal home.

Inheritance. Clan land and ceremonial and political positions pass within the clan. Livestock usually goes from Parents to children of both sexes, most commonly sons. Daughters inherit houses.

Socialization. Early socialization was permissive. After about age four, children were expected to begin to do small tasks and were shamed or threatened if they did not obey. Boys were treated more harshly than girls, the preferred sex. From the 1880s to about the 1920s, there was much conflict over sending children to school, and even children eager to go were sometimes taken out to work on the family farm or to prevent them from being acculturated. In recent years, education has been recognized as valuable.

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