Apiaká - Marriage and Family

Marriage. According to Koch-Grünberg, marriage was monogamous, even though he mentions Castelnau's reports, according to which each Apiaká man had two wives and chiefs had three. Nowadays marriages are monogamous and predominantly interethnic. The Apiaká do not practice ritual initiation as a prerequisite for marriage. Women are considered ready for marriage after their first menstruation, that is, between 11 and 15 years of age, and men after they reach the age of 16. The preferential type of marriage is between cross cousins. Residence is uxorilocal when the marriage is interethnic and patrilocal when it is intratribal. Remarriage is encouraged if one of the two partners dies, even if there is a considerable age difference between the two new spouses. Marriages break up when there is proof of some threat or unfaithfulness. Single mothers are rare and considered an anomaly.

Domestic Unit. In the past, extended families lived in large communal houses. Nowadays each nuclear family lives in a separate house. Houses are generally built near the couple's relatives, depending on where the marriage takes place. Therefore, a village map reflects kin and social relationships.

Inheritence. Each man and woman owns the items that he or she uses and those that are the fruit of his or her labor or trade. These goods are not inherited but instead destroyed when their owner dies. Items acquired by trade, such as pots and firearms, are individually owned and are inherited by the surviving spouse or the son or daughter who lives in closest proximity. If the house of a dead person is not abandoned, it is demolished and part of the material is reused for a new building. No one lives in a house where someone has died.

Socialization. Socialization of children takes place in the home and in monolingual (Portuguese) schools supported by the mission. Babies remain with their mothers, who are helped by adolescents. Fathers may hold their sons in their laps, but boys' necessities are met by their mothers. Babies are wrapped in pieces of cloth, in the Western manner; small children are either skimpily dressed in shorts or left naked as they begin to crawl or take their first steps. From an early age they are taught to be respectful in their dealings with parents, godparents, and adults. At the same time a spirit of self-esteem and freedom is encouraged. Adults give great importance to formal schooling, which, however, presents some problems of constancy. In schooling, emphasis is given to arithmetic and reading and writing in Portuguese. These are considered to be of prime importance in dealings with non-Indian outsiders.

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