Osage - Marriage and Family



Marriage. Individuals could not marry into either their own moiety or their mother's clan. Ideally, marriages were arranged by the extended families of both individuals, Commonly without their knowledge. Marriages were important and elaborate social affairs with major gift exchanges between the families. The husband of the oldest sister in a family had a prior claim on all younger sisters, and sororal polygyny was common. Both the levirate and the sororate were also Common practices. Traditionally, the Osage may have been patrilocal in residence; however, by the early nineteenth Century matrilocal residence was typical.

Domestic Unit. The ideal family lived in an extended Family unit headed by the son-in-law. Today, most are nuclear families, with extended family households usually found only among the wealthier families.

Inheritance. Traditionally, household property was passed to the son-in-law upon marriage. Ritual positions and items were usually passed from father to eldest son. Women normally favored their oldest daughters. Today there is still some bias favoring the oldest children. Most property is inherited bilaterally, conforming to laws of the state of Oklahoma.

Socialization. Children were raised in a world with welldefined rules of behavior. Physical punishment was rare, and children were controlled through a combination of ridicule and rewards.

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