Western Shoshone - Marriage and Family



Marriage. Because men generally hunted and women gathered, marriage was essential to form a viable economic unit. Bride-price was common in some groups, but absent in others. If the man was a good hunter, he might have more than one wife. Such polygyny was usually sororal. There was a strong emphasis on the levirate and sororate. Polyandry was present among some of the eastern groups. Brothers in one family often married sisters in another, with the converse being true as well. Postmarital residence varied from group to group, with uxorilocal residence being common. Divorce was common, and so were multiple remarriages.

Domestic Unit. The nuclear family was the common Domestic unit, although there were some polygynous families.

Inheritance. There seems to have been an absence of Inheritance rules governing real and movable property.

Socialization. Old and handicapped persons looked after children while the parents were obtaining food. Puberty rites were restricted to females, the rites being an individual rather than a group ritual, with moral precepts and attitudes being instilled by the mother.


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April Brauneis
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Dec 3, 2019 @ 8:20 pm
I am looking for an actual description of a marriage ceremony as well as a funeral or death ceremony for a young child.

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