Montagnais-Naskapi - Marriage and Family

Marriage. Bilateral cross-cousin marriage was preferred among the early Montagnais-Naskapi, but this has been discouraged since the beginning of the twentieth century as a result of Roman Catholic influences. Neither band endogamy nor exogamy was preferred. Polygyny was practiced in a Limited way, sororate marriages were common, and levirate Marriages were permitted. Among the seventeenth-century Montagnais a well-defined rule of postmarital residence appears not to have existed, but among later Mistassini trading post bands patrilocality was the norm.

Domestic Unit. Traditionally, lodge groups of three or four families numbering fifteen to twenty people were the basic units of Montagnais-Naskapi socioeconomic organization. Later, in the 1700s and 1800s, similar-sized hunting groups formed the basis of trading post bands. Among Mistassini hunting groups the individual family units occupied separate dwellings during the hunting and trapping season, but shared a communal lodge following the onset of winter freeze-up.

Inheritance. Inheritance among seventeenth-century Montagnais appears to have exhibited no clear pattern, although, there may have been a preference for a sister's Children as a man's heirs. Following the development of trading post bands and hunting territories, hunting privileges within specified tracts of a band's hunting territory were inherited patrilineally.

Socialization . The social ethic of the Montagnais-Naskapi emphasized generosity, and this ideal was instilled in children at a young age. Children shared in the work of the family, Including the care of younger siblings. The Montagnais-Naskapi favored strong social pressure over physical punishment in disciplining their children.

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