Pintupi - Marriage and Family

Marriage. First marriages are generally arranged by the parents, rather than according to the preferences of the prospective spouses. A man approaching marriageable age will begin to travel with the camp of his prospective in-laws, contributing his hunting skills to their support. Upon marriage, the husband joins the camp of the wife's parents until the birth of the first child or children, while the wife begins instruction in her domestic responsibilities and in women's Ritual lore. Once children are born, however, the couple will set up their own distinct camp. Polygyny is common.

Domestic Unit. The Pintupi domestic unit minimally consists of a man, his wife or wives, and their children. However, it is usual that there may also be one or more other dependents—one or more of the husband's or wife's parents or a widowed sibling.

Inheritance. For the Pintupi, ritual associations with Dreaming sites, which also imply rights to resource usage in the associated territory, are the principle benefits of the Concept of inheritance. Such associations and rights are normatively passed down patrilineally. Portable personal property is negligible among the Pintupi and its distribution is not normatively prescribed, except that it be given to "Distant" kin because it is felt that "near" kin would be reminded of their grief by personal effects of the deceased.

Socialization. Child rearing is the province of the mother during the early years, but it tends to be shared by cowives and other female kin in the camp. At this early stage, children are treated with great indulgence, but they are taught early on that principles of sharing and cooperation are important. Both male and female children are granted a great deal of freedom. Male initiation, by which young boys begin their transformation to manhood, involves introduction into ritual lore and circumcision, after which point they embark upon a period of their lives when it is expected that they will travel widely. In such a way young men develop broader social ties and are exposed to greater amounts of ritual lore. It is only after marriage that women begin to be educated into "Women's business," the ritual lore held exclusively by women. There is no female counterpart to the traveling period of male youths.

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