Anuta - Marriage and Family

Marriage. Genealogies show a few particularly important chiefs to have practiced polygyny. Otherwise, monogamy has been the universal practice. Divorce has always been a rare occurrence, and since missionization it has been entirely prohibited. One must marry outside of one's domestic unit, and sibling marriage is forbidden. Otherwise, there are no absolute prohibitions. Normally one marries cousins, and the more distant the connection, the more appropriate the Marriage. A married woman joins her husband's domestic unit and moves into his household.

Domestic Unit. The domestic unit, or patongia, approximates a patrilateral extended family. A married couple and their children may live in a separate house, but members of the same patongia share ownership of garden land, crops, buildings, canoes, and all other forms of property. They harvest and prepare food collectively, and normally they eat Together as a single unit.

Inheritance. Since property is owned collectively by the domestic unit, how to dispose of it upon a person's death is rarely an issue. Occasionally, garden land is transferred upon marriage from a woman's natal unit to that of her husband; and at the time of a funeral, it may be transferred to the unit of the deceased's mother's brother. Should a patongia die out, its property may pass to units of the leader's close collateral kin or units with whom the extinct patongia has been in a close cooperative relationship.

Socialization. Children are cared for by all adults and older siblings in the domestic unit. In addition, adoption is common and children spend much of their time with Members of their adoptive patongia. Training emphasizes respect for rank and for property belonging to other domestic units. Children may be scolded and restrained from getting into trouble, but physical punishment is unusual and rarely severe.

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