Rossel Island - Marriage and Family

Marriage. Marriage within most clans, between one's own and linked subclans, between children of men of the above categories, and between first cousins is proscribed. Marriage with a classificatory mother's brother's daughter is discouraged while marriage with a classificatory father's sister or Father's sister's daughter is preferred. Actually, only 46 percent of a small sample had actually married according to this preference. There is a tendency toward local endogamy. Many marriages are still arranged by elderly relatives. A considerable bride-wealth is paid in shell money, no cash being allowed. Due to mission pressure polygynous marriages are now infrequent. Residence is predominantly patrivirilocal. Divorce is rare.

Domestic Unit. The nuclear family is the primary Domestic unit (the people who pool food resources and eat Together), with the addition of occasional unmarried young or old enfeebled relatives. This unit conducts daily food production but is assisted by bilateral kin and affines for larger tasks such as forest clearing or house building.

Inheritance. The main significant property is fruit trees and ceremonial stone and shell valuables. Sons tend to Inherit from their fathers and daughters from their mothers. The person who takes main responsibility for taking care of a close relative in old age receives the major share.

Socialization. Infants and children are raised by members of the domestic unit and by grandparents and other elderly relatives. Socialization practice varies between families. Generally sharing and cooperation is emphasized and, although self-assertion is discouraged, autonomy of the individual is valued.

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