Marriage and Divorce (American Indians Ready Reference)
Article abstract: For the American Indian, the integrity of the family was paramount; divorce was possible, but it was not expected
Marriage customs differed from tribe to tribe. In the Northeast and Plains tribes there was usually not a ceremony to celebrate the wedding, but there were very strict arrangements made between the two uniting families before the couple came together. The groom usually contacted the girl discreetly but personally to see whether she would accept him. This encounter might be a formal courting situation, or it might only be a quick look at a public event. Marriage partners had often known each other all their lives; even if not in personal contact with each other, they knew the families involved.
Establishing the Marriage
Once the young man believed that there was a mutual attraction, he would contact the bride’s family to arrange the terms of the union. Usually, it was the groom who would provide for the bride’s family. The amount of goods brought to the girl’s family was in accord with the status of the family and the girl. A virtuous, reserved, industrious girl who would bring honor to a man’s home commanded respect. That respect was publicly demonstrated by bringing goods to her family. Among...
(The entire section is 1087 words.)
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