Growing Up Sexually


CHIPEWYANS, CHIPPEWA (North-American Natives)


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See also: North-America Non-Natives



Among the Chipewyans, “sexual activities were commonly observed by children from a tender age and did not merge as a subject of conversation among young people[1][136]”. Snowdrift “children have seen a corpse by the time they are seven or eight years old and have witnessed their parents or married siblings performing sexual intercourse. Children do not often joke or even talk about sexual matters, presumably because it is so much a part of everyday observation as to be hardly worth talking about (VanStone, 1963/1965:p55-6)[2][137]. Sister Hilger (1951:p156)[3][138] has no arguments on childhood sex life. She states that a girl was of marriageable age as soon after puberty as she was able to do all the work expected of a housewife. Some informants, as was also indicated by Pierz in 1855[4][139], married at age 14. Authors (Hilger, p53; Pierz, Densmore, 1929:p72) mention that the girl was watched closely by her mother, and old informants report that she did not know her spouse before the day of actual marriage, arranged by parents. Few girls received any instructions regarding menstruation before it occurred, at age 12-15 (p50). “An interpreter was certain “that girls today were bad because mothers gave them full instructions about all these things”. Several informants were convinced “that girls learned too much in the American schools: there they learn everything long before they should know it!”. Boy’s puberty was not ritually marked (p168), girls were segregated at the occasion; childhood ended with puberty.














Janssen, D. F., Growing Up Sexually. VolumeI. World Reference Atlas. 0.2 ed. 2004. Berlin: Magnus Hirschfeld Archive for Sexology

Last revised: Sept 2004


[1][136] Oswalt (1973), op.cit., p71

[2][137] VanStone, J. W. (1963) The Snowdrift Chipewyan. Ottawa, Ont.: Northern Co-ordination and Research Centre, Dept. of Northern Affairs and National Resources; VanStone, J. W. (1965) The Changing Culture of the Snowdrift Chipewyan. Ottawa, Ont.: NationalMuseum of Canada

[3][138] Hilger, M. I. (1951) Chippewa Child Life and its Cultural Background. Washington: Smithsonian Institution

[4][139] Pierz, F. (1855) Die Indianer in Nord-Amerika [etc]. St. Louis