Yukpa - Marriage and Family



Marriage. The relations between an individual and his or her classificatory kin contain many of the rights and obligations expected between primary relatives and their descendants. These relatives are close kin, with whom marriage is prohibited. Men must marry pahte; women must marry awo. These two reciprocal kin terms refer, for men, to cross cousins, the daughters of male cross cousins, sister's daughters, and patrilateral cross aunts once removed; women may marry mother's brother, cross cousins, sons of cross cousins, and patrilateral cross uncles once removed. The immediate postmarital rule is uxorilocality: a young man resides in his father-in-law's household. During this period, reportedly lasting for only a few years, young men pay a bride-price with labor or money. Once the bride-price is paid, young families may elect to stay with the wife's father, return to the husband's community or settlement, or begin a new residence elsewhere within the subtribal territory. Polygyny was once practiced with some frequency, although the custom is today only rarely observed.

Domestic Unit. The principal domestic units among the Yukpa are the nuclear and extended families. The former are increasing in importance today, whereas in earlier times the latter was the dominant family unit.

Inheritance. In Yukpa society, both men and women are entitled to inheritance from their parents. A decision is made within each household on how land and possessions should be passed on to the children. Seniority is a decisive criterion; other criteria are an individual's long-term contribution to family production activities and continued residence in the community.

Socialization. Yukpa children learn the appropriate values and behaviors of their society primarily from parents and other close relatives. This socialization process encourages curiosity, innovation, and exploration while developing the necessary work skills and a sense of responsibility. Oral folktales recounted by elders play an important role in the enculturation of young children. Physical punishment is infrequent. In Yukpa communities located at a distance from missions and local towns, children do not attend any formal educational institution.


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