Ingalik - Marriage and Family

Marriage. The aboriginal Ingalik practiced local endogamy and avoided marriage to first cousins. Marriage was monogamous, with occasional polygyny by wealthy men. The levirate and sororate were practiced, the latter rarely. Residence after marriage was initially with the wife's family. The couple then lived with the husband's family until the man could build his own house. Divorce was uncommon, particularly when there were children. A divorced woman returned to her mother's house.

Domestic Unit. The typical winter village house was occupied by two or more nuclear families, usually fifteen to twenty persons. Units in the spring and summer fishing camps were smaller. In the winter villages, groups of men cooperated in caribou hunting and some fishing activities. Contemporary Ingalik live predominantly in single and extended family units.

Inheritance. Songs, dances, and the right to wear certain masks at ceremonies passed from father to son. At death, most property was inherited by the spouse and children, although that of a wealthy person would later be distributed at a potlatch. Some items were burned or placed in the coffin for use by the deceased in the afterlife. The house of a deceased adult was temporarily abandoned and sometimes burned. Rights to family hunting and fishing sites were inherited.

Socialization. Children were weaned after they began to walk. The Ingalik were gentle and tolerant with their off-spring, with mild punishments and threats for misbehavior. Children learned various taboos, and older adults taught them moral tales. In aboriginal times, most learning came from imitating adult activities. Today, children attend public schools, and increasing numbers continue their education Beyond high school.

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