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Please talk briefly about how inheritance (for example the inheritance of a chiefly...

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jilltom | (Level 1) eNoter

Posted May 1, 2013 at 9:32 PM via web

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Please talk briefly about how inheritance (for example the inheritance of a chiefly title) is generally practiced in a matrilineal society where a bride has to move out of her own natal family to live with her husband.

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Karen P.L. Hardison | College Teacher | eNotes Employee

Posted July 15, 2013 at 7:53 PM (Answer #1)

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There seems to be some confusion in your question. It is the practice in patrilineal societies for the bride to leave her natal home and go to the home of the groom/husband. Conversely, it is the practice in matrilineal societies for the groom/husband to move to the bride's home. This fact is reinforced by the correlating fact that in matrilineal societies the husband/father is considered a "stranger" in the bride/wife's home.

This stranger status is confirmed by the additionally correlating fact that in a matrilineal society the husband/father owes financial support and material care to his sister's children, not to his own children. His own children, his wife's children, are financially and materially cared for by her the wife's brother. This is the way matrilineal families protect the matrilineal possessions that will be passed down to the woman's daughters: the possessions and children of the woman on the husband/father's side of the family are protected by her brother while the children of the woman herself are protected by her own brother. The disadvantage in this society lies with the woman who has no brother.

In matrilineal societies, a man's goods are shared among his sister's children and accumulated to be handed down to them. If a man holds a community title, like chief, this will be handed down to his sister's son while his goods would go to all his sister's children. It is only the maternal possessions that are handed down exclusively to a woman's daughter. Similarly, a woman's brother will share then hand all his goods down to all her children. Thus if a woman's brother holds a title, that title will go to her son from her brother. Contrasting with this, if a woman holds a title, like female clan leader, then her title will go to her daughter along with all the mother's other possessions. Thus the clan is kept intact.

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