Tewa Pueblos - Marriage and Family



Marriage. Marriage within one's own moiety is preferred by many Tewa, but in any case a spouse may not be closer than a fourth cousin. The marriage ceremony usually includes a native ritual as well as a church or other nonnative ritual (such as marriage by a justice of the peace). Marriage is monogamous and sexual fidelity is expected, although divorce and infidelity have been known since the time of first contact. There is no official postmarital residence rule, but in some families pressure is put on the couple to spend the first year of marriage in the home of the husband's mother before establishing a neolocal residence.

Domestic Unit. Small extended families have been the predominant household composition until recently. Since the late 1970s increased numbers of single-family housing units on most Tewa reservations have resulted in younger families establishing homes away from their parents' house. Economic conditions for some families lead to maintenance of a three-generation household, with many older Tewa preferring such an arrangement.

Inheritance. Inheritance, like kinship reckoning, is bilateral with a preference for dividing property equitably among all offspring. Lands left intestate (that is, without a written or verbal statement or will having been left by the person to whom it was assigned) may be recovered by the tribe, but Usually will be divided among the children by a tribal official. Personal property may be divided among relatives and friends following the funeral of a deceased person or it may accompany the deceased to the grave. Traditionally, daughters Inherited their mother's house, but this has changed in recent years on some reservations.

Socialization. Socialization takes place well into the Middle years. From birth to middle age, specific rituals move Individuals through various states of being and becoming Tewa. Children are raised relatively permissively until about age six. By age ten girls and boys have been separated into two groups for instruction in the kivas for fulfilling their responsibilities as women and men in their pueblo. Children of Catholic families also send their children to the church for instruction and preparation for First Communion. Today, families also place great emphasis on education for their children and may begin sending them to school in the Head Start program as early as age four. Tribal encouragement for higher education in public or private colleges is noted in educational grants and subsidies available through the Eight Northern Indian Pueblos Council. Both women and men are responsible for child-rearing activities, including nurturing and protecting them, as are all adults residing in the community.


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