Gender Related Social Groups

Tarahumara social organization is neither predominantly male oriented nor female oriented. Though men's and women's roles in society are rather strictly separated, they are highly complementary and recognized as interdependent. The basic social unit in Tarahumara communities is the nuclear family, and the bond between husband and wife is important. However, in public, and in the social institutions of governance and religious practice, men and women perform separately. Men are elected as officials and undertake the duties of advising, caretaking, and punishing community members. It is predominantly men who vote for political positions, as well as female (sole) heads of households, who exercise this right more often than married women. Religious events are orchestrated primarily by men, though one or several women may be appointed as tenanche or ceremonial hostess for a particular event. She is responsible for overseeing the preparation of corn beer and meat stew for the fiesta. In daily life, the association of neighbors, relatives, and friends in tesguinadas or corn-beer parties is an essential part of economic, religious and social practice. Men and women attend equally, but usually maintain gender-separated groups during the communal work and drinking (at least in the beginning of the festivities).

Newly married couples are neither strictly matrilo-cal nor patrilocal, but decide to live with the parents of the husband or wife depending on which benefits them most (more fertile land, available living space, food security) or which family needs them most (many young children to care for, an ailing relative, extensive land to work) or, simply, which family they prefer. Couples may move back and forth between households for several years or all their lives, often building houses and maintaining fields in several sites. Though kin terms distinguish mother's relatives from father's relatives (e.g., mother's mother is referred to differently from father's mother), there are no distinct matrilineal or patrilineal kin groups.

Pregnancy And Childbirth

Pregnancy And Childbirth

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