Parental and Other Caretaker Roles

Tlingit mothers and fathers both demonstrated affection for their children. Since this was a matrilineal system, it was this affection that marked the key relationship between a man and his children. He had a limited role in the socialization and training of these children. As a member of another clan group he had neither the knowledge nor the right to teach clan-based skills and knowledge. He also had no right to discipline them. Tlingit mothers had both authority over, and affection for, their children. They and their clanswomen had the responsibility for rearing young children. They also had a responsibility to protect and increase the wealth and prestige of the kin group that they passed on to their children.

Mothers' brothers had an important male role to play with their sisters' children. They were the closest clansmen to these children and were key male authority figures. Since they lived in different clan houses, the immediacy of their interaction was different for nieces and nephews. When the boys moved to join their houses, the relationship became immediate. Girls also looked to their mothers' brothers as their closest senior clansmen and were expected to respect and obey them. Mothers' brothers were their male protectors who were expected to be concerned with their well-being throughout their lives.

Pregnancy And Childbirth

Pregnancy And Childbirth

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