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Blackfoot Divorce

Posted By Judy On In Native American | No Comments

The chief grounds for divorce from the man’s point of view, are laziness and adultery. For these or any other causes he may turn his wife out of doors. The woman then returns to her relatives where she is cared for and protected until another marriage can be arranged. The husband usually demands a return for the property he gave for her at marriage; he is sure to do this if she marries again. From the woman’s point of view, adultery does not justify divorce, but neglect and cruelty may result in abandonment. She flees to her relatives where she is safe from attack. The husband’s family then opens negotiations with her relatives and an attempt at adjustment is made. The woman’s family usually agrees to another trial, but may finally decide to find her another husband. Then her husband demands a settlement and is entitled to equivalent return for what he gave at marriage. Thus, formal divorce is really a restitution of the husband’s marriage gifts, or a refund of the purchase price.

In general, divorce seems not to have been common as it was looked upon as disgraceful under all circumstances and grievously expensive. The behavior of the husband was softened by his knowing that in case of continued discord his wife’s relatives were certain to interfere except she were charged with adultery and even in that event would retaliate if the accusation was manifestly unjust.

When the husband dies, the wife usually returns to her relatives who again arrange for her marriage.


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