Videos

Carrie Little

The coming of age ceremony was very important to show everybody that a young woman was important and it was also the stepping stone for marriage. When it came to marriage you could not just take the girl from her community. Things had to be done the right way. The man had to ask for her hand but it was not only his responsibility but the family and community’s responsibility as well. It was a big, big ceremony. What they would do is put a stick which had feathers on it into the ground in front of the house where she lived. The people sometimes sat outside for days waiting for a response and sometimes couldn’t even get out of their canoes. Each family had family rights and traditions when it came to marriage and they were used to challenge or to test the worthiness of the man and his family. The man and his family made promises, they chanted and finally when the woman’s family accepted they took the stick into the house. All the people were invited in to celebrate. If it was a refusal the family of the girl would break the stick and throw it down the beach. When a chief’s son would marry there was an arranged marriage usually to another chief’s daughter because they understood their roles within their society as this was very important.