Article abstract: Social control among Indian tribes was maintained by mock battles, ridicule, gossip, public beatings, and execution, among a variety of other means
All Native American tribes had definite rules of behavior and strict concepts of what constituted permissible and antisocial behavior, as defined by the group’s established norms. These norms, or mores, were traditionally accepted rules based on a peoples’ religion and were long established through oral history as a “given way” for individual and group behavior, if the group was to survive. Admittedly, as in warfare and certain types of intergroup theft, in-group behavior could differ from how one interacted with nontribal or non-aligned people. In fact, one could acquire certain status by violating the property of an antagonistic individual of an enemy group, or even taking the life of an enemy.
As with most unicentric political and legal systems, social control resided within the kin group and in daily face-to-face association with other village or band members. It was generally assumed that an extended family would resolve its conflicts privately. For example, among the Illinois, a man could punish his wife’s adultery with mutilation or death. Once a conflict escalated and became public, however, the village or a council would intercede in an effort to restore harmony by resolving the family’s problem. Social stability was favored; in-group...
(The entire section is 732 words.)
Want to Read More?
Subscribe now to read the rest of this article. Plus get complete access to 30,000+ study guides!