Ayoreo - Marriage and Family

Marriage. Ayoreo marriage takes place after adolescence and is contracted by the couple without any special ceremonies. Generally it is monogamous, but there are cases of polygynous unions. Residence is generally virilocal, and there is practically no divorce.

Inheritance. There is no real pattern of inheritance among the Ayoreo since they lack immovable goods as such and since movable possessions are abandoned as grave goods. Only items made of iron become the inheritance of the widow and remain in use as goods that belong to the extended family.

Socialization. The life cycle implies several stages that are characterized by various practices and are often strengthened by the songs of the igasitái. Infanticide is practiced for religious reasons. Women and children may be given as many as four names. Once children have reached adolescence they participate in the activities appropriate to their sex and engage in free and frequent amorous relationships until, at an adult age, they marry. Life for the Ayoreo is a constant struggle against adversity and illness; people often commit suicide when they reach old age. Prostitutes are especially persecuted and kept away from the community.

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