INGALIK (North American Natives)


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See also: North-America Non-Natives





Among the Ingalik (Osgood, 1958:p217)[1][197] girls instruct boys “whose sex life has not properly begun”, while being instructed themselves by older boys and grown men. Also, “[a] boys and a girl who like each other may make a little grass house away from the village in the summertime. The boy sneaks back and takes one or two fish from the drying rack. This they eat for “supper”. Afterward they go to “bed” and engage in various degrees of sex play. Not infrequently, two boys and two girls will make a “house” together, thus following their parent’s pattern of two-family association. Then they will pair off for the “night”. This type of activity starts at about the age of six or seven. […] The girls generally go home earlier in the evening leaving the boys together to discuss their experiences (p228-9)”. A girl would be told by her mother that she will “have pups” if she “plays” with the boys. “Threats are not always effective, however” (p180). Children must not talk sex in mixed company (p183). Child marriage is rare, in which cases sexual intercourse would be delayed (p198).

Mary-Rousselière (1984:p440)[2][198]: “[…], especially in the evening, [Igalik Eskimo boys and girls] played a game involving a wolf. Adults often participated in these games, which sometimes took on pronounced sexual overtones”.


De Laguna (1972:p515B)[3][199] reports parental play among the Tlingit of Yakutat Bay in south-eastern Alaska. According to an informant, this play had gained in its sexual implications: “Children, that is girls who were not yet adolescent and boys old enough to go hunting but not old enough to marry, indulged in sexual games on the sly. They “play house, like husband and wife... Them days they just play together, just play man and wife--nothing wrong. But nowadays they get into mischief... Johnny cuddle up with the girls, and I don’t know nothing. We’re little kids. And the big grown up girls [almost adolescent] know something about the business, you know”.













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][197] Osgood, C. (1958) Ingalik Social Structure. New Haven: YaleUniversity Press

[2][198] Mary-Rousselière, G. (1984) Iglulik, in Sturtevant, W. C. (Ed.) Handbook of North American Indians. Washington: Smithsoniant Institute. Vol.4, p431-46

[3][199] De Laguna, L. (1972) Under Mount Saint Elias: The History and Culture of the Yakutat Tlingit. Washington, D.C.: Smithsonian Institution Press, p515B