Choiseul Island - Marriage and Family

Marriage. Kin groups were and are neither exogamous nor endogamous in principle, and kinship beyond first- or second-cousin range is not a bar. The most prestigious form is via payment of bride-wealth in the form of kesa, in which case postmarital residence is in the community of the husband and his family. When bride-wealth is not given the husband is expected to reside with the bride and her natal family, and their offspring are expected to remain active members of the wife's little sinangge.

Domestic Unit. In the early years of marriage a couple usually resides in the same house as the parents of one of them. As they acquire children they expand into a house and gardens of their own, usually located in the same village; subsequent residence might be in virtually any village in which either spouse has kin, though there is of course a strong preference for residence with close kin such as parents or siblings.

Inheritance and Succession. Heritable forms of property includes kesa and groves of valuable trees, both of which devolve equally on a man's sons, though it seems likely that, in the case of a big-man, the eldest son or likely successor would attempt to acquire all the shell money. A big-man's eldest son was entitled to succeed him, but only if the son was an able leader.

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