Ulithi - Marriage and Family



Marriage. Marriage is monogamous. Residence is patrilocal, but the residence rule is somewhat elastic, especially Because a husband spends long stretches of time helping in his wife's gardens if the land assigned for her use by the prevailing system of land tenure is on another islet. In actuality there is some matrilocal, avunculocal, and neolocal residence. Until the advent of Catholicism divorce was very common and easily accomplished by mutual agreement.

Domestic Unit. While the nuclear family is the basis of the domestic unit, in actuality households consist less of a husband and wife and their offspring than they do of either extended families, composite families, or units not involving a marital pair. Although members of a nuclear family may live under one roof, for purposes of eating they may be scattered among commensal units.

Inheritance. Individual inheritance is greatly restricted by the rights of the matrilineal corporate group, which has its traditional lands, traditional house, common hearth, canoes, and canoe sheds. Individuals acquire usufruct tenure to a plot of land in three ways: intralineally, by matrilineal inheritance through another member; extralineally, as a result of patrilineal inheritance of usufruct tenure originally acquired by gift exchange or purchase; and, last, life usufruct tenure, which is held only for the lifetime of the individual or for even less time. The system of land tenure is basically a matter of lineage "ownership" and the granting of rights to individuals either matrilineally or patrilineally.

Socialization. The social personalities of infants and Children are shaped mostly by their mothers, but other kin are very crucial. These include their fathers, older siblings, Lineage mates, and also members of the kindred, or iermat, who are all the people who are their cognates. When children are adopted, which is always before they are bom, they continue to be domiciled with their real parents until the ages of 5 to 10, because these years are considered to be the most crucial formative years of their lives. Much permissiveness characterizes child rearing, which involves a minimum of corporal punishment and an abundance of scolding and ridicule. Affection is lavished on children by all those around them, giving them a strong sense of security.

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