Walapai - Marriage and Family

Marriage. Traditionally, marriage was not marked by Formal ceremony. Rather, the process was initiated through repeated gifts by the male suitor to the girl's father. If the father found the man to be acceptable, he would urge his daughter to receive the man. Upon marriage, a man was expected to live for a time in the camp of his spouse and then return with his wife to his own patrilineal camp. In practice, however, young couples typically joined the camp that was most in need of their help in subsistence activities. Divorce was Reported to be frequent in the postcontact era, for reasons of incompatibility, jealousy, and adultery. With settled reservation life, the incidence of divorce has declined substantially.

Domestic Unit. Several related families joined together to form the basic domestic entity, the camp. Frequently, these families were polygamous, out of the need to ensure sufficient labor for domestic activities.

Inheritance. Under aboriginal conditions, notions of Inheritance of private property were weakly developed, since an individual's possessions were burned upon death. Access to wild resources within the tribal range was, however, a critical right inherited through the patrilineal band.

Socialization. Historically, the socialization of children and adolescents centered on economic pursuits, training the young in the critical tasks of hunting and gathering. In recent years, a noteworthy interest has been shown by Walapais in documenting and preserving Walapai language and culture. The Peach Springs School, opened on the reservation in the 1950s, has implemented an extensive program in bilingual and bicultural education for its students.

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