Courtship and Marriage

As noted, forming households through marriage was the norm. Parents selected adolescents' first spouses, allowing the young person to refuse if strongly upset by the choice but expecting obedience. The groom's family expressed honor to the bride and her family by presenting gifts; the bride's family outfitted her with a tipi (or, later, cabin) and household equipment. She herself was expected to have sewn and embroidered trousseau clothing and moccasins for her man.

Young men courted young women by waylaying them as they fetched water or firewood for their families, speaking to them on the margins of camp (later, near their family cabins) or at public gatherings, or daring to sneak under the tipi cover into the maiden's bed. Should the man be discovered in the tipi, the couple were considered married. A charming custom was for young men to ride around a camp singing love songs, taking the maidens of their choice up behind them on the horses as the circuits continued. Young women could court men by choosing to dance with them or in their honor if the man had performed an exploit to be celebrated. Propriety required the parents of the courting couple to meet formally to arrange a marriage.

Pregnancy And Childbirth

Pregnancy And Childbirth

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