Chipaya - Kinship, Marriage, and Family

Kin Groups and Descent. The closest social unit is the nuclear family, followed by the extended family, and then by the ayllu, of which there remain only three—Tajata and Tuwanta in the main village, plus Ayparavi. Ayparavi is not an ayllu of extended families like the other two, but is a mixture of families. Descent is patrilineal.

Marriage. Marriages are monogamous and group endogamous—very few Chipaya adults marry non-Chipaya. Marriage was traditionally arranged by the families, but now the young people play the decisive role. Divorce is not common.

Domestic Unit. The nuclear family is the most important social unit and has its own household. It is now more common for families to take in aged parents, whereas previously they were generally expected to fend for themselves. Orphans or children of relatives who have more children than they can care for may be adopted by families with few or no children.

Inheritance. Property is divided among the surviving children, but usually that is very little. As people age, they usually have more needs than assets. Important religious objects are generally passed on to the oldest son for proper care.

Socialization. Children are cared for by the family, including older siblings. Children are expected to be independent and responsible for themselves. Chipaya life and ways are taught more by observation than by instruction. Only after marriage is a Chipaya able to participate fully in all aspects of community life.

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