Marriage and Weddings - Plateau Native Americans in Olden Times for Kids Illustration

Marriage and Weddings - Plateau Native Americans in Olden Times

For Kids

Marriage:  Young people usually married in their mid teens. Marriage was a big deal.

Finding a Partner: Some tribes arranged marriages, but either the girl or the boy could refuse to marry the person their parents chose. There may have been disappointment felt, but no shame was attached to this refusal. Some tribes believed in proposals, and left it up to the kids to decide who and when they chose to marry. Some tribes held a dance, where young people selected partners. Many young couples had already decided who to marry before the dance. This dance was mostly for fun. During a partner selection dance, if a young man wanted to marry a certain young woman; he grabbed the sash around her waist and reeled her in. If she allowed him to continue to hold her sash, she had agreed to the marriage.  Some tribes on the Plateau used sticks on shoulders instead of sashes.

The Wedding Ceremony:  Whatever method was used to select a partner, the wedding ceremony was very similar. There was a groom’s family feast, and then a bride’s family feast. Gifts were given at both. These gifts were not given to the young couple but were instead given to the guests. After the bride’s family feast, the couple was considered to be married.

Where did newly married couples live? Until the birth of their first child, the couple moved in with the bride’s family. After the birth of their first child, they moved into their husband's family pit house, or negotiated with the village Council to be assigned a space in the village longhouse, or built a separate home of their own. The choice was up to them. Custom dictated that whatever choice they made would be supported by both the bride's family and the groom's family.

Babies and Cradleboards

Other Plateau People Ceremonies

Religion and the Shaman

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