Saturday, December 17, 2016

Native American Customs of Marriage

Native American Customs of Marriage 


The Flower of the Wigwam
The wooing of Indian lovers varies with the tribes. One pair of lovers seal their vows by standing a little removed from the parental lodge, with a blanket covering their heads. In another tribe the negotiations are made entirely through the parents, when the transaction resolves itself into a barter, so many ponies for a bride; while in still another tribe, when a love fancy strikes a young man, he arranges to meet the young woman who has attracted him as she goes to the river for water. They pass each other in the path without any recognition. This occurs two or three times. Finally if the young girl welcomes these attentions she looks toward him as they pass. That night he comes to the lodge of her parents, remains outside, beating a tomtom and singing the love song. The young girl then goes out to meet him and they sit outside and talk. The next morning the mother asks her daughter about the affair, and then the mother invites the young man to come and dine with them and sit around the campfire. Thus the courtship proceeds until he finally says, “I will take this girl for my wife,” and the two go to their own lodge. The Indian has an unwritten code of family morals to which he most rigidly adheres. In some tribes no Indian will cross the threshold of another if the wife of that man is alone, and in others no brother goes into the house where his sister is unless she has a companion. This is an ancient law and belongs to many tribes. The Crows have an eccentric custom that a sister after marriage is not allowed to be seen in public with her brother. Should an Indian alienate the affections of the wife of another Indian or steal his horse the injured one would 
be justified in taking his rifle and killing the offender. The whole camp would sanction the action on the ground that it would rid the camp of bad blood.