Andamanese - Marriage and Family

Marriage. Marriage is arranged by the elders within the prescribed group, that is, between turtle hunters and pig hunters. A man's patrilineal relatives take gifts and demand a daughter from a man's matrilineal group. Among the Ongees, population decline often makes it impossible for a young man to marry his classificatory cross cousin, and consequently he sometimes must marry a much older woman who is his mother's classificatory cross cousin. Monogamy is a strict rule. An older man or woman who has lost a spouse receives priority for marriage. Levirate marriage is acceptable. Marriage is a highly valued status. Both Man and Radcliffe-Brown imply that residence is ambilocal, but some of Radcliffe-Brown's remarks indicate a tendency towards virilocal residence. Among the Ongees a newly married couple stays with the wife's matrilineal relatives at least until a child is born. After a child is born the couple may move to live with the husband's siblings and their families. Divorce is rare and is considered immoral after the birth of a child.

Domestic Unit. The nuclear family is the major group around which all activities revolve. The nuclear family includes a married couple's own children as well as any adopted children.

Inheritance. Men and women inherit rights and obligations primarily from their matrilineal lineage. Tools and canoes may be inherited from the father's side.

Socialization. Customarily children are given in adoption. The responsibility of early socialization of the child rests with the child's matrilineal relatives. Once a young boy is ready for initiation his training and education become the responsibility of his father and his paternal relatives. After a girl's first menstruation she is even more closely aligned with her matrilineal relatives. Children of both sexes are taught about the forest while they accompany their elders on various hunting and gathering activities. Through play and the making of toy canoes, bows and arrows, shelters, and small nets, children are introduced to the basic requisite skills.

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