Micmac - Marriage and Family



Marriage. Traditionally, it is likely that cross-cousin Marriage was preferred; polygyny was acceptable. A groom would have to perform bride-service during a probationary period. Nowadays, Micmac follow Roman Catholic rules of prohibition; ideally one should never marry kin of any degree of relatedness. Until 1970 or so, parents would often arrange Marriages or persuade their offspring to marry their boyfriends or girlfriends. Neolocal residence was and is the norm, though now that the Micmac are sedentary, newlywed couples usually live on the husband's reserve, often near his parents' house.

Domestic Unit. The traditional domestic unit was the Nuclear family, though it sometimes included an aged parent or grandparent as well. Today this is still true. Increased illegitimacy, however, has led to households of one mother and her children, and the raising of children by their mothers' mothers. Also a shortage of housing has resulted in many young married couples living with parents.

Inheritance. Traditionally, real property played no part in inheritance, and personal items were buried with their owner. Since the end of the nineteenth century, at least, the wishes of the decedent concerning the disposition of personal and real property have been respected. Presently, a few Micmac use wills, which are usually executed by the Department of Indian Affairs, according to the provisions of the Indian Act.

Socialization. Parents and other family members treat children tolerantly and provide love and support under nearly all circumstances. It is frequently left to people outside of the family to admonish children when they misbehave. Parents teach their children by having them assist them in their own tasks and by example. Formal education is not highly valued, and few children complete high school.

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