Mohave - Sociopolitical Organization

Social Organization. Mohave settlements constituted local groups or neighborhoods, the cores of which were Patrilocal and bilocal extended families. Women occupied a relatively high status in day-to-day life, but in the religious realm they held a distinctly subordinate position.

Political Organization. The Mohave were loosely organized into three regional groupings or bands, each composed of several local groups. A head chief, whose position was inherited patrilineally, existed; however, he exerted little authority. Other influential men in Mohave society were war leaders, Religious leaders who were the managers of entertainment and festivals, and shamans, each of whom gained prominence and influence through dreaming. Below the head chief were subchiefs of the various regional bands and, below them, local group leaders who gained influence through dreaming and demonstration of oratorical skills.

Social Control. Scorn and ridicule was heaped on those whose dreams proved false when their enterprises failed. Shamans who consistently failed in their charge to cure the sick or who were suspected of witchcraft might be put to death.

Conflict. Disputes often occurred when the periodic river flooding obliterated property boundary markers. Such disputes were sometimes settled in pushing matches or stick fights on the contested property.

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