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Northwest - Clans & Marriage Illustration

Clans & Marriage
Pacific Northwest Native Americans
in Olden Times for Kids

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Clans: All Northwest Coastal Indians are divided up into two or more clans. You could not marry someone from your clan. The Haida only had two clans. Everyone was either born a Raven or an Eagle. When a baby was born, it belonged to the mother's clan.

Marriage: When a man wanted to marry a women, he had to pay her father a agreed amount prior to the ceremony. The wife was given in partial payment for this amount.

When their first child was born, the child became a member of the mother's clan. The clan had to pay the husband a sum equal to the marriage contract as for the child. This annulled the marriage. At that point, a woman could stay or leave her husband as she chose.

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