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Navajo Family Structure

navajocodetalkersadmin on April 18, 2014 - 10:00 am in Navajo Rituals

In the context of humanity, the family is considered as a small community of the people who related in blood. It is also called as the group of people who are affiliated by marriage and recognized by birth. A typical family and immediate family structure is composed of parents, brother and sister, son and daughter. Extended family may compost and include aunt, uncle, cousin, nephew, niece, sibling-in-law and grandparents.

Families play a vital role in the society. It is also considered as the principal institution of the young generation. It is the basic unit involved in raising children. Families are important in the society, community and to the nation.

There are different king of family structure around the world. One of the famous tribe in the Southwestern United States is the Navajo, Navajo is considered as the biggest recognized tribe in the United States of America. Navajo tribe is consists of more than 300, 048 tribal members. The Navajo tribe is an independent governmental body in the USA. The tribe manages the Indian reservation in the different places in United States of America. Today, Arizona is the state in USA where in many Navajo tribe members live. There are almost 140, 263 Navajo members live in Arizona ad 108, 306 Navajo members live in New Mexico. One way to understand well the importance of Navajo in the society is to know the family structure of Navajo.

The Family Structure of Navajo

The traditional and typical Navajo society it includes extended family structure. In the context of Navajo’s extended family structure the family includes three generations. The third generation in the Navajo’s family structure consists of the parents of the wife, the parents are considered as additional members to their own family. The existence of additional family members means more responsibilities, kinship and family bond. The extended family system in the Navajo family structure means more responsibilities because the family is larger than a typical family than only consist of wife, husband and their children. Each member of an extended family structure of Navajo is expected to do certain tasks for the welfare of the family.

In a family structure of Navajo, when a baby is born, the baby belongs to the clan of his or her mother. The name of the clan passes on through her up to her children. A Navajo man marries he must no marry someone who belongs to his own clan. Even though there are times that people in same clan are not related in blood they are required to marry someone who does not belong to a similar clan. This rule is strictly observed in the family structure of Navajo.

According to the family tradition and kinship of the Navajo tribe, Navajo people need to introduce his or her maternal and paternal clan to the one that he or she wants to marry. It is a family custom that make the Navajo tribe unique to other tribe in the United States of America. It is also a trademark of Navajo people. It served as their identification that they are Navajo tribe members.

In the family structure of Navajo, the two Navajo members that meet for the first time will refer each other as brothers or sisters. Navajo members that are cousins in blood also refer each other as a brother or sister. The siblings and cousins of their mother and father will be called as their aunts or uncles. The siblings and cousins of their grandparents will also be called as their grandpas and grandmas as well. Respect and love are very important factors in the family structure of the Navajo tribe. They able to keep families united and strong because they treat each member of the family full of love and respect.

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