Slavey - Marriage and Family

Marriage. There were no prescriptive marriage rules, but local group exogamy with nonparallel relatives was seemingly preferred. Close relatives were considered inappropriate Marriage partners. Polygyny occurred relatively frequently, was often sororal, and was explained in socioeconomic terms—the successful hunter could support more than one wife. The sororate was practiced, as was pre- and postmarital bride-service. Temporary matrilocal postmarital residence (while "working for" a father-in-law or brother-in-law) was the norm. After the birth of a first child or some other reasonable period, patrilocal and neolocal residence were possible. Divorce was apparently easy—one spouse simply left.

Domestic Unit. The nuclear family household was the primary domestic group. It could be extended by the addition of one or more of the parents of the married couple. Nuclear families, however, rarely traveled alone, as they normally accompanied larger local groups that were kin-based and within which expectations of economic cooperation and generosity were great.

Inheritance. Traditionally, upon death, individually owned personal property was placed with the corpse of the deceased person or was destroyed or was kept by relatives as mementos. If property was inherited, it was usually by a spouse or child on the informal basis of need and appropriateness. The Canadian government has administered the transmission of registered trapping lines from father to son.

Socialization. Like-sexed parents and the rest of the immediate family were fundamental to socialization, which was accomplished with great leniency. The values of industriousness, individual autonomy, generosity, emotional restraint, and control were encouraged. Because noninterference, or "minding one's own business," was valued, intervening with another's children was rare. Disapproval of self-glorification, stinginess, bossiness, gossiping, anger, laziness, fighting, and illicit sexual congress was expressed.

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