Maká - Marriage and Family

Marriage. Marriage is monogamous, although some remember polygyny among ancient chiefs. The choice of a partner is frequently the result of negotiations between parents, but the marriage proposal always comes from the woman. Levirate and sororate are frequent, emphasizing the importance of marriage as a means of allying kinship groups. Relations with fathers-in-law and brothers-in-law are reserved. The rules of exogamy are prescriptive and inhibit relations with all those considered to be related. Former tribal limits must have coincided with those of endogamy because social relations outside them had to be limited by latent or active confrontations. Residence is characteristically matrilocal. Divorce is frequent in the first stages of a marriage, although rare after children are born. In the case of divorce, the man leaves, taking with him only items of personal use.

Domestic Unit. The extended family household consists of a couple and its unmarried sons, daughters, sons-in-law, grandchildren, and, from time to time, adult relatives—of either spouse—who are no longer in a position to organize their own household.

Inheritance. The few goods that are personal property are normally destroyed at the time of death.

Socialization. Children learn informally when they accompany their mother and a group of her female relatives in their daily search for food and, after puberty, when boys accompany their father. Learning also takes place within the age group as children play with miniature tools, intended to perfect physical dexterity, that imitate those of adults. Children are never punished, which furthers self-confidence and independence.

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