Páez - Marriage and Family

Marriage. The Páez marry, for the most part, within their own communities or with individuals from neighboring resguardos; marriages seldom take place between Páez from distant communities. There are almost no instances of marriage with the neighboring Guambiano or with local non-Indians, and it is said that Juan Tama, the Páez culture hero and an eighteenth-century chief, ordered his people to marry only within their ethnic community. Marriages are performed by Roman Catholic priests based in the urban centers of each municipality. Residence is virineolocal: after a short period of residence with the husband's parents, a couple will build its own house, generally in the husband's community.

Domestic Unit. The domestic unit is usually composed of a nuclear family that shares a house and works the land communally. The average domestic unit has 5.5 members, although with an infant mortality rate of 36 percent in some communities, many more children are born to a family than survive to adulthood.

Inheritance. Inheritance of resguardo land is regulated by Colombian law. Use-rights are legitimized and passed from one individual to another through the mediation of the cabildo. The cabildo is also authorized to mediate disputes over the inheritance of movable property.

Socialization. Infants and children are raised by the members of the nuclear family. Children accompany parents in all activities. Into the 1930s women were confined at childbirth and first menstruation to a small hut and isolated there for a specified period of time, whereas young men were initiated at sacred lakes. Primary schools have been built in most communities, frequently under the supervision of the church, and most children are now receiving at least two to three years of formal education.

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