Gender Related Social Groups Patrilineal Descent Groups

The patrilineal descent system with patriclan divisions, which still dominates in Yupik society, originally created a pattern in which women lived and worked together with the women in their husband's family's home or with close relatives from the patriclan unit living in one of several settlements scattered all around the island shore. The same was true for men.

Housing and Patrilineal Descent Groups.

Following a devastating famine and unidentified epidemic between 1878 and 1880, a significantly reduced population gathered first at the present site of Gambell and later divided into the two current communities. New homes were built in these concentrated settlements with residents positioning themselves by clan group or lineage group. This pattern continued until the U. S. government began to build new housing in both communities and to make that housing available to nuclear families following similar patterns common in the rest of the United States. Currently (c. 2002), women work with their husband's female relatives in homes situated near their own homes or travel across the village to join together in family groups. Men of the same lineage or clan work together when they travel to the beach or when they embark on a group project such as boat-building. Since the 1970s, the clan and lineage groups have begun to intermix in the collections of new homes, but so far it has not significantly affected the work-group pattern and the older pattern can still be discerned.

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