Yagua - Marriage and Family



Marriage. Marriage is clan-exogamous. Cross-cousin marriage was once the rule and is still preferred by members of certain clans. Marriage is monogamous; both sororal polygyny and levirate were practiced. Intermarriage with members of other tribes or with mestizos is still quite rare. Descent is patrilineal and residence was patrilocal, although because of an initial period of bride-service by the groom, residence might have appeared matrilocal. Today patrilocality exists side by side with matrilocal and neolocal residence. There is no special marriage ceremony other than a drinking party. Marriages usually last, but if they do not work out partners are free to separate. The woman, with or without children, simply returns to her family.

Domestic Unit. Small extended families were formerly common, but today the nuclear family tends to predominate.

Inheritance. Personal belongings—even those of great value like axes, machetes, or shotguns—were traditionally dumped in a deep area of the river or destroyed after their owner's death; houses and fields were abandoned. Now these valuable items, as well as dogs and pets, are inherited by the children.

Socialization. Children are raised permissively and almost never punished. "Education" emphasizes cooperation, responsibility, and generosity. Boys get most of their training in the manly arts from a maternal uncle, whereas girls are trained in household chores and female crafts by their mothers. Today, parents seek to send their children to a public school, thinking they will be better able to confront mestizo culture.


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