Itelmen - Marriage and Family

Marriage. Traditional marriage included working for the bride in her father's home and the ceremony of "grabbing the bride" (the groom would try to touch the bride's genitals while she and her family tried to thwart him), which had also spread to the Koryaks. After Christianization, Itelmen married in the church. Itelmen have never avoided mixed marriages. Modern marriages are carried out in accordance with the laws of Russia.

Domestic Unit. Apparently the primary economic unit was the patrilineal community, corresponding to the "large family" of the Koryaks (i.e., population of one kist). It is possible that the word knalos (family) earlier meant exactly this kind of community. The modern Itelmen family is the same as the rural Russian family.

Inheritance. Not having property in land, the Itelmen did not have the problems associated with bequeathal. Utensils, instruments, and buildings were also not inherited because the Itelmen avoided using objects that were left by the dead. In later times inheritance did not become a significant problem.

Socialization. Punishable acts were theft and murder. The latter led to blood feuds. Attitudes toward infidelity were dispassionate; a husband divorced his wife by ceasing sexual intercourse. Parents loved their children, but the children did not respect their parents. In this regard Itelmen are similar to Kereks.

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