Kumeyaay - Marriage and Family

Marriage. The traditional system forbade marriage to a sib mate. Today, Kumayaays claim marriage was forbidden to all traceable relatives of both parents. But in the traditional System, cross cousins were not related and mission records reveal cross-cousin marriage was possibly favored. The levirate and sororate provided a replacement for a deceased or disabled spouse. Leaders often had several wives. Leaders' families intermarried with those of distant bands and tribes. Formerly, families arranged marriages and the groom presented gifts to the bride's parents. Residence is generally patrilocal, though a couple may reside on either spouse's reservation or elsewhere. Children are likewise registered on either reservation.

Domestic Unit. Traditional extended families consisted of grandparents, one or two sons, their spouses, and children. Nuclear families now predominate with relatives' homes nearby.

Inheritance. Individual and family lands, water, and resources were inherited. Originally land went to whichever child remained to care for elderly parents, often the youngest son or daughter. Leadership, religious, and specialist positions were inherited by the most capable son or daughter trained in the specialty. At death all personal property was destroyed, including the house, clothing, tools, songs, stories, and dances. Today, personal property is burned and Household furnishings given away. If a will is absent, the federal government follows state probate law.

Socialization. Grandparents trained children to participate in hunting, fishing, and harvesting, and to be able to survive alone by age five. Village members shamed unruly Children who were strictly taught to be polite to elders, obey religious leaders, and not interfere with adults. Keeping Children in Indian boarding or day schools and forbidding all Religious practices destroyed the strict socialization customs. A permissive system similar to that of non-Indians now exists.

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