Futuna - Marriage and Family

Marriage. Marriage is preferred between two people of the same or neighboring villages, as long as they are not too closely related. The sau or one of his councillors must approve each marriage. The young couple is likely to live with either his or her parents, and the mother-in-law feeds her new daughter-in-law well lest the latter's family criticize her.

Domestic Unit. Two or more siblings and their spouses and children are likely to share a household together with additional kin or adoptive kin. Household size averages eight persons, representing three generations as well as some Siblings of those in the older generation and their offspring. This is the main group that interacts within the village and beyond.

Inheritance. Land and property, such as kava-making equipment, canoes, and planting implements, are passed on from fathers to their children, while tapa beaters and special mats are passed on in the female line. Titles within the Tuiagaifo and Sau chiefly families are passed between two separate groups; e.g., the incumbent family passes the Tuiagaifo title to the person selected by the family group of the past incumbent.

Socialization. Children are raised within a very close Family network that consists of many people. They are carefully guarded and watched over, and not allowed to roam far from home without good reason. This pattern dominates their lives even as adults. Every Futunan is bound into a system of "Faka Futuna" or "the Futuna Way," which he or she must honor and respect. It includes obligations to the traditional leaders and to the Catholic mission as well as to senior members of the extended family. This system has been extended to New Caledonia where the number of Futunans is large enough to continue the caring and sharing tradition.

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