Ajië - Marriage and Family

Marriage. Each man and woman had a series of obligatory and optional social actions in terms of residence and marriage. Marriage traditionally was exogamous, patrilineal, and between cross cousins. However, the system was flexible. Distant cousins married and sometimes it was sufficient just to be symbolic cross cousins. Residence was usually virilocal; however, uxorilocal residence was always an option. Marriages were negotiated by families of similar rank through a Series of ceremonial exchanges, and although there are "love" marriages occurring today, many young people, particularly those of chiefly rank, still have arranged marriages. Polygamy was sometimes practiced, but because of the influence of Christianity monogamy is now the rule and divorce is not common, although couples sometimes separate and take up common-law relationships with other partners.

Domestic Unit. The nuclear family is the basic social unit. Children move around frequently among relatives and it is not uncommon for a childless family to receive children to raise as their own. Older parents will live with one of their children.

Inheritance. Under the current system reserve land is inalienable and is owned collectively, and therefore one inherits the right of access to land in the reserve rather than the land itself. Homes and movable property are inherited by the spouse and children.

Socialization. Children are raised by both parents, Siblings, and other relatives. Children are taught to respect clan elders and it is the elders who will collectively discipline a wayward youth. Boys are brought up through a series of initiation rites and girls receive instruction during menstrual seclusion.

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