Boazi - Marriage and Family

Marriage. Marriage is by the exchange of women, preferably uterine sisters, between men of opposite moieties. In addition to a rule of moiety exogamy, there are restrictions on marriages between individuals who are closely related matrilaterally. Marriages are usually between members of the same territorial group, although there is no rule of group endogamy. Marriages are usually arranged by the fathers and the mothers' brothers of the men and women involved. Following marriage, a man is expected to help his wife's father with hunting and heavy labor. This is facilitated by a pattern of uxorilocal postmarital residence, which usually continues at least until a couple has two or three children. While polygyny was a part of the traditional culture of Boazi speakers, today, under the increasing influence of Christianity, most marriages are monogamous.

Domestic Unit. The nuclear family is the typical domestic unit, although the people living in the same house may include parents or widowed sisters of the husband or wife, and married daughters and their husbands and children. In some instances, pairs of brothers and their families may live in the same house. As mentioned earlier, unmarried men sleep in a separate house although they regularly visit their natal families or married siblings.

Inheritance. Boazi speakers have few inheritable artifacts or wealth objects. An individual's few personal effects are either buried with the person or distributed to his or her children. A man's sago swamps and coconut palms are divided among his sons, and in some cases among his sons and daughters.

Socialization. Infants and children are raised primarily by their mothers or their oldest sisters. Children are encouraged to be independent and physically competent, and they are discouraged from showing pain and ridiculed if they fall down or hurt themselves. For boys, the freedom of childhood continues, with only slight restrictions, until they marry. Girls, however, are increasingly pressured to accept responsibility and to be productive from about the age of 9 or 10.

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