Yokuts - Marriage and Family



Marriage. Marriages arranged by families were preceded by gift giving to the family of the future bride and concluded with a feast. Lineage exogamy was enforced, and moiety exogamy was favored but not prescribed. Matrilocality was customary for newlyweds, but after a year the married couple shifted residence to the husband's father's home or set up their own residence nearby in his village. Polygyny was allowed but infrequent, and divorce was an easy matter to effect by either husband or wife.

Domestic Group. The basic economic and social economic unit among the Valley Yokuts was the nuclear family; among the Foothills Yokuts the extended family was the norm. Generally, each family lived separately in its own dwelling, but among some groups of the Southern Valley Yokuts as many as ten families shared a single large communal home.

Inheritance. Subtribal political offices and certain ceremonial functions were inherited patrilineally within lineages.

Socialization. During her first menstruation a girl was isolated in her home and prohibited from consuming certain foods and drinks. Subsequently, a celebratory feast was held to which neighbors were invited. No special puberty or initiation rite was held for boys. Adult status for both sexes was signified by a group ceremony intended to bring long life, happiness, and prosperity. The ritual involved the consumption of a hallucination-producing decoction derived from the root of jimsonweed.


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