Growing Up Sexually

World Reference Atlas (Oct., 2002)


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Janssen, D. F. (Oct., 2002). Growing Up Sexually. Volume I: World Reference Atlas.

Interim report. Amsterdam, The Netherlands




North-American Natives



Ethnographic Index


Arapaho, Assiniboine, Athabascans, Blood/ Blackfoot, Cherokee, Cheyennes, Chipewyans, Apache Chiricahua, Comanches, Crow, Dakota, Flathead, Gros Ventre, Hopi, Huron, Ingalik, Copper Inuit, Iñupiat, Iroquois, Kaska, Kiowa-Apache, Klamath, Kutenai, Kwakiutl, Lakota, Menominee, Mohave, Mantagnais / Naskapi, Navajo, Nootka, Ojibwa, Omaha, Papago, Pawnee, Paiute, Point Barrow, Pomo, Powhatans, Qipi, Quineault, San Ildefonso, Sanpoil, Shoshone, Shuswap, Sioux, Tinglit, Ute, Yokuts, Yurok, Zuñi




Contents of Section



North-American Natives. 1



Berdache, with a Reference to Ontology3

Menarche Rites3

Early Betrothal / Marriage3

Contemporary Coitarche4

Ethnographic Particularities4


Index to Section: American Natives. 24





Introduction  [up] [Contents] [Ethnographic Index]



Eastman's Indian Boyhood (1902)[1] does not reveal a clue to sexual development. This may be indicative of a reserved attitude, or of the truth. Anyway, as Karsch-Haack (1901 [1983:p243])[2] notes some authors in the middle of 19th century[3] dedicated the racial decay of New Caledonian man to "countless immoralities" ("beispiellosen Ausschweifungen") perpetrated by women "from childhood on". According to Bales et al. (1994)[4]:


"On the whole, American Indian societies were more permissive than any of the European Christian nations that began the conquest of Native America in the late 15th century. Among Indians, virginity was not necessarily prized in either sex. Sexual experimentation was regarded as ordinary adolescent behavior, and many tribes permitted—indeed expected— young people to gain sexual experience before marriage. […] As in other cultures, Native American sexual life and identity developed during childhood. The process varied from tribe to tribe in native North America, but most children learned about sexuality from adult behavior and talk. In the Qipi Eskimo society of the eastern Arctic, for example, parents taught about sex through play and example. Mothers and fathers openly touched, kissed, and admired their babies' genitals during infancy. Sexual play among Eskimo children continued well into adolescence. Children talked openly about sexual experiences, and parents took these discussions as a sign of normal child development. Nevertheless, parents discouraged masturbation during childhood. These people did not admire berdache behavior and thought that masturbation was a precursor to homosexuality".


Williams[5] observes that sex was not interpreted as a sin, or as restricted to some reproductive role, instead as a "major blessing from the spiritual world, a gift to human beings freely enjoyed from childhood to old age. […] Children's sexual play was more likely to be regarded by adults as an amusing activity than as a cause for alarm. This casual attitude of child rearing continued to influence people as they grew up, and even after their marriage".

Addressing "the typical American Indian as it was before he knew the white man", Eastman[6] states that within marriage ceremonials, "[e]ach girl […] approached the sacred rock and laid her hand upon it with all solemnity. This was her religious declaration of her virginity, her vow to remain pure until her marriage. If she should ever violate the maidens' oath, then welcome that keen knife and those sharp arrows!".

Voget (1961:p99-100)[7] sketches the rather "inclusive" sexual life of young native Americans, including bestiality, homosexual encounters, coital pretence, contests, quasi-introductions, etc.:


"Preadolescent gangs of boys served as a special source for sexual knowledge and experimentation. Such a group of Tenetehara boys would attempt to lure young girls into the bush, where they would attempt intercourse and other sex play. […] Sexual contests of one kind or another were conducted by Crow gangs. The erect penis would be measured against that of another claimant to determine the larger and they would divide according to clans and bet on champions who would attach a line to the penis and then drag a stone as far as possible. Like the Mohave, Crow youths would bet on ejaculation distance. A large penis was prized and preadolescents would pull on the pubic hair to stimulate growth and sometimes they would put on an irritating plant juice on the penis to make it swell. […].  Both boys and girls seem to have graduated to heterosexual contacts at an early age. Societal recognition of the fact is afforded by the brother-sister respect-avoidance behavior commonly initiated between the ages of 7 and 10. Chaco boys chased girls and openly tried to touch the vulva, and if a girl were caught they might attempt intromission. Kwakiutl boys of 6 or 7 would built little shelters in the forest and play house with girls of comparable age, lying with them in imitation of adult copulation. Play imitative of domestic life seems to have provided initial sexual contacts in many societies. […] Crow boys of 8 and 9 were invited by pubescent and sometimes older girls to urinate in lieu of ejaculation".


A white informant told Erikson ([1963:p126])[8] that "Indian parents not only let their children masturbate, they teach them to masturbate". In study by Havighurst and Neugarten (1955)[9] comparing white American and Indian children and adolescents, the category "sex" was commented upon only by a few subjects (p101, 109). The Navaho Mountain child responded in the highest rate (5%), however "repeatedly warned against transgressing the sex taboo". Responses are not detailed any further.

For a very brief identification of puberty, courtship and marriage customs, see Prizker[10].



Berdache, with a Reference to Ontology  [up] [Contents] [Ethnographic Index]


Native ideologies on the ontogeny of a berdache are ethnically diverse (Callender and Kochems, 1983:p451-3)[11]. Associated cases, however, typically include statements on active, early intervention[12]. Trexler (2002)[13]argues that the executive power to assign a small boy's gender was vested in parents, rather than being the boy's free choice. Sources on berdache stress cross-sex occupational preferences in childhood (Whitehead, 1981 [1986:p87][14]).


Data on the age of first homosexual behaviour are probably rare (see Roscoe, 1994)[15] which leaves the point of berdache's sexual inauguration blank in most cases. "While growing", Arctic berdarche boys engaged in homosexual behaviour as passives[16]. Late 17th century Illinois men, not satisfied by their women as they were not sufficiently forthcoming, sexually trained groups of boys "from childhood" as passives to satisfy their needs[17].



Menarche Rites  [up] [Contents] [Ethnographic Index]


Menarchal rites used to be common feature of native coming-of-age.


As reviewed elsewhere[18], in California these include that of the Shasta (Silver 1978:p215), Achumawi (Olmsted and Stewart 1978), Chimariko (Silver 1978:p209), Modoc (Ray 1963), Yuki (Gifford 1965:p69-70), Ninesan (Powers 1976:p423), Concow Maidu  (Jewell 1987:p102), Lake Miwok (Callaghan 1978:p268), Wintu (Du Bois 1935:p53), Gabriellino (Johnston 1962:p63), but not Yokuts (Spier 1978:p479) and Tübatulabal (Voegelin 1938:p46-7). Comparable female puberty ceremonies were held by all the Juaneñ:o, Serrano and Pass, Desert and Moutain Cahuilla. In others, transition ceremonials were not associated with menarche (Cupeño), or with the menarche of one of several participants (Luiseño).


Achumawi ceremonies were social festivals "with members of neighboring villages invited, much singing of ribald songs, and, on one day of each session, sexual intercourse" (Olmsted and Stewart 1978:p232). The Modoc also celebrated a girl's first menses with a dance of notification, which was essentially a way of publicizing the fact that the girl was now ready for marriage. The festival also provided a period of "social pleasantry, love making, and sexual experimentation for young men and women, particularly the unmarried" (Ray 1963:p72). This announcement function was also described for the Gabrielino.



Early Betrothal / Marriage  [up] [Contents] [Ethnographic Index]


At the beginning of the 16th century among Native Americans, an Amerindian mode of reproduction was the norm - universal marriage near the age of puberty[19].

Marriages among the Point Barrow Eskimo are "usually arranged by parents, sometimes when principals are mere children"[20] (cf. Sumner, 1906:p382-3)[21]. Among the Behring Strait Eskimo, "[f]rom the lower Yukon to the Quskokwin child-betrothals [are] common". The girl may be four or five[22]. Among the Central Eskimo, children are generally betrothed when very young, but these engagements may be broken off at any time[23]. "[…] [I]n traditional Copper Inuit society, females were often betrothed or married before the onset of puberty" (Condon, 1987; Damas, 1972, 1984)[24]. Among the Pomo Indians, child betrothal was common (Bean, 1978; Essene, 1942:p29; Gifford and Kroeber 1937:p148–9, 190-1)[25]. Among the Blackfoot, child marriage is a recent historic fact; thus, "informants, speaking of the period of the latter half of the nineteenth century, placed the age of marriage for girls between ten and sixteen and that of men at thirty-five, rarely at less. It is during this period that we get the first cases of child marriage. Fathers now wished to marry off their daughters as early as possible in order to realize the bride price" (Lewis, 1973)[26]. Among the Thompson River Indians, girls are often betrothed while in infancy to men sometimes 20 years older[27]. Addressing the Eskimo to the North of Churchill, Franklin[28] stated that "as soon as a girl is born, the young lad who wishes to have her for a wife goes to her father's tent and proffers himself. If accepted, a promise is given which is considered binding, and the girl is delivered to her betrothed at the proper age". As cited by Westermarck ([1901:p213]), early betrothals are among the established customs of the Chippewyans[29], Inland Columbians[30], Botocudos[31], Patagonians[32], and other Native American peoples[33].



Contemporary Coitarche  [up] [Contents] [Ethnographic Index]


In a study on adolescents (Edwards, 1992)[34], the average age of first sexual intercourse among sexually active students was 13.6 years among males and 14.2 years among females.




Ethnographic Particularities  [up] [Contents] [Ethnographic Index]


Stewart (1960)[35] presented observations on sexual socialization among the Cowichans of Vancouver Island, compared with the Utes.



Pomo (Eastern Pomo:3-,3-,3-,3-,2,2;7,5) (eHRAF) (North America)  [up] [Contents] [Ethnographic Index]


Among the Pomo Indians, child betrothal was common (Bean, 1978; Essene, 1942:p29; Gifford and Kroeber 1937:p148–9, 190-1)[36]. Before the Ghost ceremony, a boy must not have had sexual intercourse (Loeb, 1926)[37]. Loeb: "Before puberty [the girl] was allowed to play with boys, but after this period she was carefully watched. Some families allowed their girls to be promiscuous with young men after puberty, but these families were the exceptions. It was some years after puberty before girls married". Powers (1877)[38]:


"One matter is notable among these Eel River Indians—I observed it more especially among the Kai Pomo—and that is the extreme youthfulness of both sexes when they arrive at the age of puberty. In the warm and sheltered valley of South Fork (however bleak the naked mountain-tops may be in winter), it was a thing not at all uncommon, in the days of the Indians' prosperity, to see a woman become a mother at twelve or fourteen. An instance was related to me where a girl had borne her firstborn at ten, as nearly as her years could be ascertained, her husband, a white man, being then sixty-odd. For this reason, or some other, the half-breeds on Eel River are generally sickly, puny, short-lived, and slightly esteemed by the fathers, who not unfrequently bestow them as presents on any one willing to burden himself with their nurture".



Comanches (2-,2,3,2+,3,3;5,5) (North America)  [up] [Contents] [Ethnographic Index]


Wallace and Hoebel (1952:p128)[39] state that small children play "chief" choosing wives. "The more precocious dallied in sexual experimentation. "One day we played at being married. I did my best to make a baby with my wife", said Post Oak Jim". "Although youngsters were not subject to moral censure for sexual activity, it was encouraged. Boys, during the period of their preadolescent gang life, ignored the girls to a great degree". At adolescence, when they become "positively bashful", this changes: the girls visit the boys. Linton (1945:p75)[40] states the following: "Sexual play between children began at an early age, and was carried out on quite freely as long as the two children were not brother and sister. The Comanche paid no attention to virginity; they took these childhood relations more or less for granted". Further (p138, 156), free masturbation would decline after acquisition of the loin cloth, the children would "imitate" adult modesty. Much clandestine sex play, both heterosexual and homosexual, occurred; children would imitate adult obscenity. Children's behaviour indicated a knowledge of the relation between copulation and conception (p138).



Flathead  (North America)  [up] [Contents] [Ethnographic Index]


Turney-High (1937:p77)[41] stated that children were not allowed to romp in the lodge, and put to bed with the dark. "Therefore, if children refrained from sexual precocity, [they] were seen rather than heard […]". Anyway, the pubertal girls were "well aware of the ordinary fact of sex [since] [t]he crowded lodges took care of that". Girls were warned for menarche. "In common with the children of many tribes there was considerable sex exploration. This seems never have been formalized into sex games, nor does it have been normally heterosexual" (p82). There was considerable premarital sex (p82-4). A type of child marriage or betrothal was far from uncommon (p86), but consummation was said not to be "precocious". Normaliter, girls married four years after puberty.



Menominee  (North America)  [up] [Contents] [Ethnographic Index]


Spinler (1977:p444)[42] noted: "Children receive little instruction about sex- but they need little since its natural manifestations are apparent in the close quarters of a shack or hut. Masturbation is rather casually discouraged".



Papago (3-,3,3-,3+,2,3+;5,4) (North America)  [up] [Contents] [Ethnographic Index]


A Papago woman remembers that "love thoughts, unlike rumours on the Sioux, did not arise till child-bearing age, the girls working and playing "with the thought of establishment in mind" (Underhill, 1936 [1979:p92])[43]. It was felt that marriage should synchronise with the awakening of sex interest and some informants appoint 12 as a marriageable age for a girl (Underhill, 1939 [1969:p179])[44]. The husband may be 16 or 17. After polluarche, a boy asked his father to find him a wife (p94). Adults are, "when sober, prudish in regard to sex. All references are subsumed under the category of malas palabres (bad words)" (p102).



Cheyennes  (North America)  [up] [Contents] [Ethnographic Index]


Cheyenne girls, "famous among all Western tribes for their chastity" wore chastity belts which was assumed upon puberty (Llewellyn and Hoebel, 1941:p176-7, 261)[45]. In theory, a girl had no say in marital arrangements; in practice, she sometimes did. However, little boys and little girls court each other in elaborate "camp" play, including going to bed [no sexological inferences are made here] (Grinnell, 1923, I:110-5)[46]. A  Cheyenne boy was expected to court a girl over a duration of one to five years, she being courted by five up to twelve young men at the same time (I, p137-8).


[Additional refs.: Hoebel (1960)[47]]


Arapaho  (North America)  [up] [Contents] [Ethnographic Index]


Sister Hilger (1952)[48] says little on Arapaho sexual development. Except from nude play in the water (p112), games that were prohibited after the girls showed signs of physical maturity, no observations are made. Late preadolescents have one or more chums (best playmates) before entering the boy's ceremonial lodge at age 12. Girl's childhood proper ends at puberty (p110, 111).



Sanpoil  (North America)  [up] [Contents] [Ethnographic Index]


"[…] [T]he Sanpoil thrash soundly any child who exhibits behavior that is at all suggestive of homosexual tendencies" (Ford and Beach, 1951:p129).



Sioux  (North America)  [up] [Contents] [Ethnographic Index]


Data on actual behaviours are few, perhaps because there is "great restraint about mentioning sexual matters to outsiders (MacGregor, 1946:p194)[49]. Sioux fathers would lean their sons to masturbate and encourage them to do so on a regular basis (Sarlin, 1975:p377)[50]. Hassrick (1964)[51] states: "Even little people's games such as the Packing Game, First Love and Elope. These games "involved playing as make-believe lovers and parents" (p112), and received "direct impetus by the elders" (p277). They were played at ages 8 to 11, whereas they probably stopped after strict sex segregation soon after age 11. However, Erikson (1945 / 1949:p215)[52] observed that boys were allowed more bodily freedom than girls before this age.



Crow  (North America)  [up] [Contents] [Ethnographic Index]


Some of the unilaterally male freedom is reviewed by Voget (1961:p99-100)[53]: "Sexual contests of one kind or another were conducted by Crow gangs. The erect penis would be measured against that of another claimant to determine the larger and they would divide according to clans and bet on champions who would attach a line to the penis and then drag a stone as far as possible. Like the Mohave, Crow youths would bet on ejaculation distance. A large penis was prized and preadolescents would pull on the pubic hair to stimulate growth and sometimes they would put on an irritating plant juice on the penis to make it swell. […]. Crow boys of 8 and 9 were invited by pubescent and sometimes older girls to urinate in lieu of ejaculation".Crow Indian children would play "wife abduction" (Lowie, 1935 [1956:p38])[54]. "In the formative years [childhood] sexual interest was left to the boys and girls, who formed their own gangs and united to play at breaking, moving and pitching camp like married couples. […] once he was six or seven a brother could no longer play with or be alone with a sister, for this would mean that he did not hold her in respect (Voget, 1964:p495)[55]. "A grandmother, especially from a better family, was much interested in the virtue of her granddaughter, and might instruct her in the wearing of a "chastity belt"(p497)[56].



Zuni, Zuñi (2,2,3-,3,2,4-;6,2) (North America)  [up] [Contents] [Ethnographic Index]



Leighton and Adair (1966:p67)[57]: "When the boys and girls are about six or seven years old, they will occasionally indulge in sex play. The boys get on top of the girls and play at having sexual intercourse in imitation of their parents, whom they have probably observed in the house sleeping quarters. Or they may have learned of intercourse from watching farm animals". "Frequently a boy's first sexual experience is with an older woman, perhaps with a married woman who has been divorced [sic], simply because she is not carefully watched by her parents". There is mentioning of a "double standard" boys being expected to have sexual relations before marriage, though condemned. Roscoe (1991:p35)[58] stated that, "Boys and girls might engage in sex play as early as the age of six or seven". Again, this would in part be the resultant of single-room housing. According to Benedict (1934)[59], "[m]arriage is arranged almost without courtship". Boys and girls were supposed not to have any more interaction than incidental acquaintances, so that "certainly there are many Zuñi women today who were married with no more preliminary sex [social] experience than this".


Kutenai (Lower Kutenai: 3,3+,3,3+,3+,3+;4,4) (North America)  [up] [Contents] [Ethnographic Index]


Turney-High (1941 [1969:p126])[60] states that chiefs agree that children's chastity training is "complete" and effective. The rape of girls would not be met with positive punishment, since "if she had remained in her own lodge at night such a thing could not have taken place". The rights and duties of marriage were lectured from age five or six (p131). Girls' house-playing  (p118) nevertheless probably lacked an explicit element despite the general realism enforced by the mother.



Navaho, Navajo, Diné  (North America)  [up] [Contents] [Ethnographic Index]


Leighton and Kluckhohn (1948:p35, 54-5, 87, 88)[61] provide specific impressions on children's sexual excursions. Masturbation is "accepted as a normal part of the young child's life", and "the mother may stroke the naked genitals of a nursing child with her hand. Some observations indicate that she does this more often with boys than with girls. This practice and the differing structure of the external sex organs may cause boys to react more strongly than girls to the cessation of nursing". Girls are taught to keep their skirts down to prevent someone seeing up their dress "go blind" (p101). Unlike "infantile masturbation", "children who are approaching the age when they might indulge in heterosexual activities are frequently and strongly warned against them. "We tell even little children that boys and girls must not touch each other. They can play together but they must not touch each other. We say to the girl that a boy may bite her ear off, or the boy may get mad and break her head with a stone". Small boys are sometimes told that the girl's vagina will bite off or injure the penis [...]. All such warnings, which might be motivated only by the practical consideration of protecting immature children from too much sexual experimentation and preventing pregnancy in adolescent girls, stress the danger of sex and are couched in terms that might implant a lasting uneasiness about the sex act".

Kluckhohn (1947:p68, 77; 1948)[62] observed that mothers tickle the genitals of nursed infants. The erotic freedom of infancy is linked to the rarity of adult impotence and frigidity (p60). Little is said about older children. An autobiographical account (Dyk, 1938)[63] reveals that seven or eight-year-old boys may be told girls will bite their genitals off, or have vaginae dentatae (p44-5). Before this, boys and girls play together freely, and may imitate the copulation of goats "every day" (p10-1).

Proskauer (1980:p46-7)[64] relates:


"The discipline and sexual instruction of Navajo children is primarily the task of the maternal uncle and aunt. Father and mother are usually seen more as benign providers of care and gifts. Sex education begins early, around toddler age, when the child's first striving toward autonomous mobility makes him eligible for the sexual joking and teasing that go on openly in Navajo social gatherings. A two-year-old boy's uncle will begin to make remarks about the size of his nephews's penis and tease him about the various girls he has had. He might call his niece "little mother" and ask her to take care of him, by giving him some milk. The aunt might tease her nephew by saying, "I want to sleep with you" or "I know you've been seeing someone else while I was away". She might instruct her niece how to catch boys at the Squaw dance. In addition to this frank teasing, children are exposed to the sight and sound of sexual intercourse from birth in the one-room hogan. […] Children have ample opportunities for sexual play and exploration while out herding the sheep or off by themselves at ceremonial gatherings. Girls and women are generally the more sexually aggressive throughout life".


"When I reached puberty, my mother advised me that I could no longer play with my brothers as I had as a girl child. I was a young woman and expected to behave as such. My brothers were advised that I was to be treated with appropriate behavior"[65].


[Additional refs: Bailey (1950:p13-15)[66]].


Mohave  (North America)  [up] [Contents] [Ethnographic Index]



The sexual life of the Mohave was extensively researched by George Devereux[67]. Devereux chooses to discuss sexual socialisation matters apart from the global pedagogical realm (1950:p94)[68]. Devereux (1951:p95-6)[69]: "Personal experience was [as was the route of the ear] an important source of information. Although, with the exception of prosperous older men who married child-wives, and of a few dissolute women, Mohave adults seldom if ever cohabited with children, the sexual skills of adults were relayed to the very young through adolescents, who cohabited both with adults and with preadolescents". "In other words, the technique of sexual acts seeped down to the younger generation through the adolescents, who were the intermediate link in the sexual chain connecting children and adults". According another quote (Williams, 1986), however, Devereux stated that "[m]any children cohabited with each other and even with adults long before puberty; the latency period was conspicuous by its absence" [ital.add.].

Boys were used as escorts of prostitutes as witnesses of eventual misbehaviour of their clients[70]. The Mohave believed in the possibility of orgasm in small children. Mohave "playing house" (p101-3) was not discussed as related to play coitus, although "the present play pattern of Mohave children has been so deeply influenced by American toys and ideas, that it is no longer possible to make direct observations of aboriginal forms […]". Ultimately, and most probably, there is "amused tolerance". Children formed at least temporarily stable affairs, in which coital play took place "sometimes as early as the fifth year of life, small girls being usually deflowered[71] by boys belonging to their play group, while older ones were sometimes seduced by adolescents or adult men". The same pattern was noted for boys. Incest was avoided. Generally, "parents seem to have tried primarily to encourage their children to avoid sexual acts which would have been scandalous even among adults". Nettle[72], characterising the early twentieth century Mohave Reservation, complained that no ten-year-old Mohave girl was still a virgin. Informants told Wallace (1948)[73] that coitarche took place before puberty, and were considered commonplace. Devereux (1937:p499 [1963:p184-5; 1992:p137]) noted that


"[c]asual homosexual relations in early childhood were frequent in the past and, according to my informants, seem to be on the increase at the present time.  "Nowadays the kids at school don't get a chance to play with the opposite sex and therefore they go off into the bushes and copulate with other boys or girls". […] Water games were especially favorable for sexual intimacy, which, however, seldom if ever led to actual sex relations in the water because the Mohave believe that intercourse in the water causes a certain disease in women. […] Not seldom older boys got hold of one of their comrades, pulled back his foreskin, and smeared mud on the exposed gland. Mutual masturbation was not absent but rather uncommon. Older boys, however, often performed forced rectal intercourse on their younger playmates. […] Adults seldom had sexual intercourse with children of their own sex, although betrothal of young girls to old men or seduction of very young boys by adult women was not rare".


Devereux (1950c:p238, 247) states that many girls were deflowered before puberty while it being "possible that in late aboriginal times, and during the early reservation days, few girls were virgins by the time they reached puberty". Mohave children held masturbation and urination contests. They played house, and examined the opposite sex genitals; "[…] such activities usually culminated in intercourse".


Blood Indians (Blackfoot; Alberta, Canada) (North Americas)  [up] [Contents] [Ethnographic Index]



McClintock (1910:p184-5)[74] revealed that, chastity being held "of supreme importance", Blackfoot girls were proposed for marriage by their parents generally when aged 14, "and sometimes as young as eight".

Goldfrank (1951:p73-5)[75] commented on the precocious knowledge of these Indians. Also, "[s]ex play between brothers and sisters is strongly tabooed, but in the young years it is not uncommon". Enuresis is said to derive from this practice. An informant reports coital imitation at age 6 without penetration. "It was not uncommon for a girl of eight to initiate a boy of five or six into the mysteries of sex, or for a group of teen-age boys to have relations with one or more girls of ten or twelve in the bushes during such times as the sun dance". Goldfrank (1966:p20)[76]: "In the children's play camp […] age-grades were frequently forgotten and boys and girls imitated the life of adults. Some chose to be husband and wife, others mother and child. Pointed Plume says, Usually we had partners, but my older sister almost always played with me. I was her son. She thought it safest if she took care of me, because I was a minipoka. No such supervision was given a Ned Sloane. He frankly tells of his sex play with a little girl of five".


A native account reveals[77]:


"My grandmothers didn't usually learn about childbirth until they were ready to have their first children. I was raised this way, too, and it is one of the things about our customs that I have never understood. As a young girl I used to ask my mother about having children. Either she would ignore me or she would say: "When the time comes, you'll find out about it". She was raised the same way, and so was her mother. My girl friends and I sometimes traded gossip and rumors about the subject, but we never really knew much about it. Some of the things we heard were good, and some were horrifying. […] If it was a first pregnancy then the mother-to-be was given advice by an older woman with more experience, often a sister-in-law. or the mother-in-law. Some tribes had elaborate ceremonies for girls reaching puberty, but ours did not. Even today a lot of girls in our tribe are really in the dark about having children. With the modern lack of discipline, this has created many problems".


Parental control was rigid:


"Little kids used to be left to play together, and in the summer they often went naked. But as soon as they got old enough to know the difference between boys and girls, they were separated. From then on the girls were watched carefully by their mothers and aunts, and no boys were allowed near them. If they did anything that might bring a bad name to the family they were punished quite severely—mostly by their own brothers" (p199-200).


Fraternal control was also harsh:


"Brothers and sisters were taught to respect each other from an early age. Girls were never allowed to dress improperly in front of their brothers. Some of these customs have gone on to the present time, I can tell you. I was the only girl in my family, and I had six brothers who watched over me. These customs sure caused me and some of my friends a lot of tears and heartaches—like when we had boy friends of whom our brothers didn't approve, or when we wanted to be in style and wear shorter skirts".



Walapai  [up] [Contents] [Ethnographic Index]


According to MacGregor[78], there are girl but not male initiation ceremonies. An informant: "When a boy has nocturnal emissions, no ceremonies or significance are attached to them. As a rule boys do not tell about them. When I have them, I dream about my relatives at the time". Another informant: "A boy becomes interested in girls when he is about fourteen years old, but does not begin to have intercourse until sixteen. The girls are usually younger. The parents of a girl who has been having occasional intercourse with a boy may make her marry him two or three years later. Most people nowadays have promiscuous intercourse before they are married". A third: "Promiscuity does not result in much illegitimacy because it is too occasional. The young people are afraid to have intercourse regularly" (cf. McKennan, p147).


Yokuts (eHRAF) (Lake Yokuts: 3,3,3,3,-,-;8,-) (North America)  [up] [Contents] [Ethnographic Index]


Marriage was arranged by parents when the girl is 10-15, marriage following when aged 20 (Gayton, 1948:p194)[79]. Undesired sexual intercourse in adolescence is feared, and the girl stayed close to home or companions. Also, "The mother would tell the girl about having babies when she was small […] [author's note: "Presumably the lore, so to say: there was no concealment of sex in this intimately housed society"]".

"They frequently arranged betrothals at puberty and made every effort to see that the marriage not only took place, but continued. […] The actual puberty ceremony, which was looked upon as a betrothal ceremony, a declaration of intentions by both families concerned, was made by a boy's mother. The parents had previously reached an agreement in the matter" (Gayton, 1948, I). "The girl might be betrothed, though not irreversibly, at puberty; marriage would take place some years later" (Spier, 1978)[80]. "The marriage pact concluded with a feast. Sometimes such arrangements were made before the two individuals involved had reached puberty" (Wallace, 1978)[81].



Assiniboine (eHRAF) (North America)  [up] [Contents] [Ethnographic Index]


In the past, age-stratified intercourse apparently awaited girl's puberty: "If a man's wife dies, he has a pre-emptive right to her younger sister, and if the girl is still immature she is kept for him until puberty"[82].



Huron (2,2,2,2,2-,2-;8,8) (North America)  [up] [Contents] [Ethnographic Index]


Sagard (1632, II:p160, as cited by Ronhaar and Tooker)[83] speaks of "very early" immorality and prostitution. Talbot (1949:p58, as cited by Mees) claimed that "[...] females prostituted themselves as early as they could, and fathers and mothers were panderers for their own daughters". As reviewed by Mees, "[t]he Huron were very open about their sexuality. They engaged in sexual expression soon after puberty and premarital sexual relations were considered to be perfectly normal [Trigger]. Promiscuity was characteristic of if not encouraged among the youth. Each village had its 'procurers' whose sole occupation was to bring young men and women together for intercourse [Anderson]".


Talbot, F. X. (1949) Saint Among the Hurons. New York: Harper & Brothers; Mees, M. C. (1997) Teach Them the Moral Way of Living: The Meeting of Huron Sexuality and European Religion, Student Historical J []; Trigger, B. (1987) The Children of Aataentsic: A History of the Huron People to 1660. Kingston: McGill-Queens's University Press, p48-9; Anderson, K. (1991) Chain Her By One Foot: The Subjugation of Women in Seventeenth-Century New France. London: Routledge, p78

Pawnee (Skidi P.: 2,2,2+,3,3,4;5,2) (eHRAF) (North America)  [up] [Contents] [Ethnographic Index]


The Central North American Skidi Pawnee children played house, according to Dorsey and Murie (1940:p96-7)[84]:


"Great freedom was allowed children, and it was their custom as they neared puberty to play the game of man and wife. They built small grass lodges which they furnished as were the lodges of their parents. Should the parents, however, suspect that an improper relationship might ensue, the girls were more carefully watched or might be kept at home. Thereafter the only opportunity for the boy to see the girl would be at the spring or creek when the girl went for water, or he might see her by stealth in the evening near her lodge. Often this early intimacy would ultimately end in a marriage according to the rites of the tribe, but the girl was not allowed to exercise much choice in the selection of a husband".

There is no formal ceremony to mark boy's puberty. From the time he is taken in charge by his mother's brother's wife, until marriage, "he maintained sexual relations with her, and entered a different stage immediately after having had intercourse with this woman", as her real husband was off hunting or on the warpath. No such custom existed for girls, "as they were supposed to remain virgin until marriage".



Hopi  (eHRAF) (North America)  [up] [Contents] [Ethnographic Index]


According to Eggan[85], "[t]here was little, if any, interference with sexual experimentation and few restraints of any sort before five or six years of age. Unfortunately this Utopia ended abruptly, for initiation into ceremonial life usually came at a very early age […]". An old Hopi "insisted that any boy who had intercourse with a girl would stop growing and become a dwarf"[86]. Simmons (1940) sketches a rather detailed picture of Hopi boyhood sexuality. Quoting from a passage on genital teasing:


"After I was four or five nearly all my grandfathers, father's sisters' and clan sisters' husbands, played very rough jokes on me, snatched at my penis, and threatened to castrate me, charging that I had been caught making love to their wives, who were my aunts. All these women took my part, called me their sweet-heart, fondled my penis, and pretended to want it badly. They would say, "Throw it to me", reach out their hands as if catching it, and smack their lips. I liked to play with them but I was afraid of their rough husbands and thought they would castrate me. It was a long time before I could be sure that they meant only to tease". The father did not partake in this teasing (p40). As I grew older […] [t]he rough grandfathers kept teasing me about my penis and threatening to take it from me. They made me believe that it was the most important part of my body"[87].


Castration threats seem to be a Hopi peculiarity. "Another time this man tied him like a billy goat to be cut and made a realistic pretence of castrating the four- or five-year-old boy for "trying to make love to my wife" " (cited by Aberle). However: "Castration threats seem no longer to be made with any frequency, and some of the excesses of the ritual teasing have been abandoned"[88].

Hopi children learned by observation, and "jokes which we would consider obscene were taught to small boys to be used when they performed as ceremonial clowns[89] (Oswalt, [1973:p425])[90]. Aberle (1951:p22)[91]: "The male infant often receives genital stimulation while nursing and in other situations […; cf. p46]. Childhood masturbation is a matter of no concern to Hopi parents. Adults and older children casually play with the genitals of young male children (D. Eggan, 22, p. 365)[92]. Children are not formally instructed in sexual matters in childhood, nut a child's public imitation of what he saw in the sleeping room creates no disturbance. Children, however, are warned against heterosexual relations. They are told that young girls can bear children, but that that the bearing of a child by a young girl would bring the world to an end. Boys are warned that heterosexual relations will bring about premature old age". In addition, Titiev ([1944] 1971:p30)[93] states: "Babies are soothed by stroking their genital organs[94]; affairs of sex are freely discussed in the presence of youngsters; parents make little effort to conceal their marital relations even though they sleep only a few feet from growing children[95]; little boys are taught all manner of obscene remarks and actions when they serve as clowns; and adult women during clown performances do not hesitate to simulate copulation with pre-adolescent boys"[96]. The Beagleholes mention a "family game" among the Hopi, although "[n]o details were given [by the father of several children] as to how far this game actually went, e.g., whether there was simulated copulation or the like" (1935:p43)[97]. A Hopi told Simmons (1942:p79)[98] on his boyhood: "One day when I was playing with a boy named Felix, we found one of his grandmother's hens on her nest. "Felix", said I, "let's make good use of that hen". We watched her until she cackled and came off. Then we caught her and took her down the hill to a good hiding place in the bushes. There we attempted intercourse with her, Felix following me. She tried to squawk, but we choked her off. When we were through she looked pretty weak and wobbly. "Well", I suggested, "she is nice and fat; let's cook and eat her" ". Dennis (1940:p78)[99] observes:


"Young children are warned against erotic experimentation with members of the opposite sex by the pretense that even children may bear babies. A girl is told that if a girl of eight or nine years were to have a baby, all the people would die and the world would come to an end. In addition, the girl is appealed to not to disgrace her family. A boy is told that sexual experience will cause him to stop growing, so that he will be a dwarf. He is also warned that if he has sex relationships at an early age he will grow old prematurely. Both boys and girls are told that if they start acting as grown-ups in sexual matters, their parents will cease to support them; i.e., sexual maturity and economic responsibility go together".


Schlegel (1973)[100] states that the girl "must be wary of boy's advances and do nothing to attract their sexual interest, if she is to remain chaste. This is particularly true at menstruation, when the smell of menstrual blood is believed to make the woman more sexually attractive to men as they are made aware of her sexual readiness". On the other hand (youngsters of either sex are under so little constraint in matters of sex that it is not surprising to find that pre-marital affairs are taken for granted and readily condoned" (cf. Goldfrank, 1945 [1956:p310])[101]. There is no formal recognition of boy's attainment of puberty (ages 12-3) (cf, Dennis, p78; the same for girls, p79), and soon spend their nights in the kivas rather than at home (Titiev). Titiev (1971)[102] learned that boys aged nine would already sleep in the kiva, "and is thus groomed in the art of dumaiya [clandestine visits for sexual purposes], so that at adolescence he will lose no time in getting started on his sex career".

Girls were instructed at menarche, but the seclusion ritual was no longer consistently observed (Dozier, 1954:p328)[103].


Schlegel (1989)[104]:


"In an earlier writing (Schlegel 1975)[[105]] I discussed the part the women of the father's clan, the "aunts", play in promoting fertility. At the naming ceremony after birth, these women rub the newborn infant of either sex on their bare thighs, thus assuring the child's fertility when an adult. It is these women who take the adolescent girl through the ceremony that moves her from childhood into social adolescence and prepares her to reach adult status through marriage. The sexual joking that takes place between a boy and the women of his father's clan can also be explained, I believe, by the association between fertility and the father's side of the kin group. The gift of the kachina doll to the daughter, then, is in my view another aspect of this association, between father's side and the individual's precious fertility".


Brandt (1954:p196-200)[106] states that the Hopi practice trial marriage, with wedding preparations begun with pregnancy. Boys and girls play at marriage, including intercourse, without an adult attempt to stop it. The same is true for masturbation. Sex matters are discussed freely in front of children. The issue of age disparate sexual intercourse of a grown man with a young girl is not seen as horrible as whites would. "To the Hopi mind this experience, even for a child of ten or twelve, need not necessarily be unpleasant; and, although Hopi were deliberately queried on the point, they gave no indication that they thought any psychological damage would result" (p205-6).

No association with initiation rites and sexual behaviour curricularisation is noted. Thompson (1950:p109)[107] mentions "a marked rise in the instinctual urges at adolescence", but this is not explored.

Honigmann (1972:p139)[108]: "However vaguely sex is defined by the young person, it is not perceived as evil. The force of the maturing sex impulse halts the introversive trends so apparent at the threshold of puberty that an easier acceptance of outside contacts takes place. Boys achieve sex indulgence more easily than girls. Hopi girls are not allowed to roam around and must avoid showing themselves to be boy-crazy".


A female Hopi autobiography[109] reveals:


"It was while I was at home this time that my mother told me about the sex side of life, although even when I was younger she had not neglected that subject. She didn't try to make it sound nice nor beat about the bush but told me in plain language so I would understand. When my sister was married and my mother went to help at her wedding ceremony, I was quite young. She told me then, "Never sleep away from me, even in the same house with your father and brothers. If I am away overnight you sleep in the bed with your grandmother. […] When a girl starts menstruating, then her mother teaches her the Hopi moral code, which is that she is to keep herself a virgin until she is married — that before marriage it is wrong, but at the time of her marriage it is right and proper. If she is attacked by a man she is to fight real hard and never yield, and a properly placed kick will stun a man for a while. After marriage, be true to your husband as long as you live. It will make a much better marriage if a girl keeps herself morally clean. It might break up your marriage if your man finds out that your past life has been bad. Even so, you would have to spend your life in the hereafter together. […] Mothers caution little girls to avoid bodily contact with boys, even their brothers, because the urge or desire is stronger in a man than in a woman, and to put your arms around him will awaken the desire. So when Hopi young people dance, they do not hold hands or touch each other. In most ceremonial dances a man dresses and takes the part of the woman dancer" (p117-8).


Paiute (Wadadika Paiute: 3,3+,3,3+,3,3;6,5;G3)  [up] [Contents] [Ethnographic Index]



Whiting (1942 [1950:p105])[110]: "Children are told not to finger their genitals. Girls are told that they will wear out their genitalia if they sleep on their stomach or ride horseback too much. Children are told not to look at other people's bodies. Informants claimed that masturbation did not exist". A girl could, and would, marry immediately after pubescence rites (Kelly, 1932:p163, 164)[111], though a general agreement stated that this was "too young"; boys married at age 20. Matches are frequently arranged, or parental pressure was involved. Steward (1933:p291)[112] notes: "Children were not instructed in sex". Either family initiated a match when the children reached puberty, and thereafter, female chastity was to be guarded by the boy (p295).



Nootka (North America)  [up] [Contents] [Ethnographic Index]


"As for chiefs, it is not uncommon for them to purchase wives but eight or ten years old. While purchase is made at such early age, the young brides remain under parental care until they are sixteen years old or thereabouts" (Koppert, 1930:p49-50)[113].



Quinault (eHRAF) (North America)  [up] [Contents] [Ethnographic Index]


Storm (1990)[114]:


"A girl of twelve or thirteen was ready for marriage and by that time, as well as trained in spiritual beliefs and routine medicine, she could cook, weave, make baskets, and tend smaller children expertly. In other words, she exhibited all the housekeeping and child rearing abilities we associate today with women in their thirties".


"After her fifth menses had passed the girl's mother invited the women and a few old men of the village to a feast. The day was spent in singing songs, dancing, and feasting. At the end each guest received a present. Her long stay in the dark cell was now over. But her companion remained with her constantly, and she continued her daily baths. She was now regarded as eligible for marriage, and ordinarily did marry within a short time" (Olson, 1936:p105-6)[115].



Cajuns (eHRAF) (North America)  [up] [Contents] [Ethnographic Index]


Tentchoff (1977:p105-6)[116] speaks of the double standard in the Louisiana community":


"Traditionally and ideally Cajuns and black Creoles expect women to be virtuous and "pure", to be virgins at the time of marriage, and to be faithful to their husbands. Young girls are traditionally kept close to the family hearth and chaperoned to dances where a watchful eye is kept on them at all times. Adolescent boys and men, on the other hand, are expected to be sexually active. Adolescents (whom I had an opportunity to observe) brag about their exploits with girls (always, they claim in other villages or in town). They may swagger as they recount their adventures and laugh at the suggested use of contraceptives".


Ancelet (1991)[117]:


"In Acadian [now Nova Scotia], life courtship and marriage were usually a matter for teenagers. Sexual mores were strictly governed by the church law and by mothers. Young girls were almost always escorted to places of courtship, like dance halls, by their parents or at least by an older brother or uncle, who diligently chaperoned the maiden's honor. A young boy with serious intentions had to make official visits to the family home, usually on Sunday afternoon, to negotiate with the young girl's father. Couples were almost never left alone until well into their courtship, and even then only in a quasi-public place like the front porch swing".



Kaska (Nahane; 3+,3+,3-,3-,3+,3+;6,6;G3) (North America)  [up] [Contents] [Ethnographic Index]


The Kaska believed that childhood masturbation would cause insanity (Underwood and Honigmann, 1947:p561/1956:p749)[118]. Masturbation "is discouraged with threats of insanity. It is important to note, however, that parents sincerely believe insanity to be a possible consequence of masturbation". Honigmann (1949:p161-2)[119] states that eighteen is commonly given as the age when sexual relations "can savely be begun. Most girls begin when they are fifteen or younger. […] Ideally, premarital sexual intercourse is disapproved of, particularly for girls". A girl of 13 "showing a tendency toward promiscuity" was beaten "just like a dog" by her mother, herself having a "widespread reputation for past promiscuity". Informants report homosexual behaviour occurring "following puberty" and largely in "consequence of sexual frustration". Adolescents may include a "swift coital-like rhythm" in their wrestling. Men might "fool" with boys the way they "fool" with women.

"Attitudes toward infantile sexuality were not observed or reported. In its early years, of course, a baby, being closely bound and heavily diapered, has little opportunity to explore its genitals" (p180). Childhood masturbation is reprimanded (p183), which is in tune with the general restriction applied in this phase.


"No effort is made to give a child sex instruction, and since people rarely discuss sexual topics, children are limited in the information which they might acquire about this subject. Sexual prohibitions are explained obliquely and with many euphemisms, so that the prevailing attitude toward sex as something highly personal and restricted cannot fail to be transmitted. On the other hand, some awareness of sexuality may be gained when a child loiters in the mixed company of adolescents and unmarried young people, who engage in sexual teasing and sometimes make threats or references without regard of the presence of youngsters. Since parents and children sleep in the same dwelling room, it is likely that children are early exposed to sexual activities, the meaning of which is not explained. When adults are intoxicated there is also a relaxation of sexual taboos from which youngsters are not protected. A sense of modesty begins to be inculcated in the child when he is three or four years old, and children of that age will not urinate or defecate in the presence of other people. Now the mother also warns a child of any indecent exposure in a public place" (p186).


At puberty, teasing turns to sexual teasing. Marriage should not be precocious, preferably at age 19 for both sexes.

Honigmann (1954:p120)[120]: "Children of the same sex could urinate and defecate together in the bush but children of the opposite sex were early prohibited this degree of intimacy. […] Children were dissuaded from sex play by parents pointing out how it threatened a boy's hunting prowess and could cause a girl's death. Sexual curiosity met the warning: "Your eyes are going to be blind". A masturbator's hands were whipped with a willow switch". "Although any connection between the menstrual flow and hymenal bleeding was denied, people asserted that the initiation of sexual relations brought on menarche some five years later. As Ford points out, in conjunction with considerable premarital intercourse such a belief "would only rare be challenged by contradictory facts". Girls knew from the warnings they had received that sexual relations led to bleeding, and not uncommonly a girl noticing the onset of menstruation seized her blanket and shamefully ran off. The mother followed, seeking her daughter where the latter hid under a tree. The girl was asked the name of the boy who had "started" her". Children were behaving indecent when uncovered beyond the age of 3, obscene drawings by children were punished.



Gros Ventre (2+,3+,3,4,3-,-;8,-) (North America)  [up] [Contents] [Ethnographic Index]


The belief that coitus would bring about menarche was also noted by Flannery (1953:p127, cited by Paige and Paige, 1981:p81)[121].



Yurok (2+,2+,2+,-,-,3;-,6) (eHRAF) (North America)  [up] [Contents] [Ethnographic Index]


Erikson[122] (p87-8) observed that "[…] sex as such is viewed with leniency and some humor. Masturbation, for example, is admitted, but said to yield to a mild discouraging attitude. The Yurok do not expressly approve of, nor are they insensitive to, the habits of self-indulgence which have so prominent a place in the clinical complaints of parents in our culture. […] In adolescence, when the relationship to the opposite sex becomes important, the young York can look back on a childhood of free play with other children, during which at least the body surface of the other sex had in no way remained a secret. By the time the girl had passed the menarchy [sic] and in some ways becomes more secretive […], the heterosexual relationship has already found a firm place within the established system of property values, based as it is on the modes of considered intake and clever retentiveness".



Ute (Colorado)  [up] [Contents] [Ethnographic Index]


Opler (1963:p146-7)[123]: "Before puberty […] sex play and sex interest were sternly discouraged". This is predominantly avoidance of sibling incest; however: "Immature boys and girls were openly warned against sexual intimacy even with non-relatives on the grounds that illness resulted from premature sexual relations. […] Between relatives of the same sex, however, a great deal of good-natured salicious banter occurred, usually directed toward younger relatives in conformity to the one-way respect attitudes of the Ute".



Apache (Chiricahua [Eastern] Apache: 3-,3,4,4+,3,4;1,1;B?;A) (North America)  [up] [Contents] [Ethnographic Index]


Opler (1941:p79)[124] on the Chiricahua Apache states that "[s]exual precocity is rare and sternly discouraged. The one account of such misbehaviour which was obtained was that of a seven-year-old boy charged with trying to throw down little girls and molest them". An informant claims that he never heard of sex play, but if caught, they would be whipped (p79). Realistic house-playing is discontinued at age 6 or 7. "A girl should come to her first menses and her puberty rite a virgin",

Boyer (1979:p69)[125] sketches another image: "Today young children have actual sexual relations. Sometimes teenage boys have intercourse with girls of latency age, and adolescent girls are known to have prepubescent and neopubescent boys service them". Homosexual play, which is quite public, is prevalent, although true homosexuality is said to be rare. Boyer (1964:p230, 233)[126] had already argued:


"In addition to mutual exploratory behavior in the sort usually reported in western cultures, among these Indians [Apache], sexual intercourse occurs with very small children. Men reported to me that they had been seduced before they were six years old by teen-age girls. They said they, in turn, had had intercourse with girls four and five years of age when they reached their own adolescence. It is impossible that adults do not know of the outhouse sexual relations of children. Anyone walking near outside toilets will hear the children's giggles and panting from time to time".


There is little evidence of masturbation and homosexuality among children. The Apache correct infantile genital handling (Boyer, 1982:p98)[127].

Speaking of the Western Apache, Goodwin (1942 [1969:p284-5])[128] remarks: "The material on sex knowledge and play among Apache children is exceedingly limited". There is much occasion for animal scenes, and overhearing of conversations. Free heterosocial play until eight if followed by a seemingly spontaneous withdrawal completed by age 11 or 12. Girl's extreme "self-consciousness" begins before puberty, while "[e]xposing private parts is strictly avoided, and even small girls and babies of no more than a year are taught not to do it (Goddwin, 1942:p456)[129]. There are occasional prepubertal marriages on authority of the girl's family.



Kiowa-Apache (North America)  [up] [Contents] [Ethnographic Index]


Before adolescence, children belonged to the Rabbit group (McAllister, 1937 [1955][130]). In their dancing and feasting, there would be occasion for "horseplay and occasionally obscenity". No formal training of children, and no social recognition of menarche. Sexual experience "undoubtedly" began earlier than marriage. Parents, brothers and other kin were to watch and chaperone the girl, but there were occasions to circumvent this "theoretical" organisation.



Mantagnais / Naskapi (3,3,3,3,3,3+;2,2) (North America) [up] [Contents] [Ethnographic Index]


According to Burgesse (1944:p17)[131], an informal separation of the sexes is manifest at age eight.



San Ildefonso (New Mexico, North America)  [up] [Contents] [Ethnographic Index]


In New Mexico Hammond saw coital play encouraged by adults of both sexes (1913, VI:p36-7, as cited by Brongersma, 1987:p124). Whitman (1963:p423)[132]: "Children do not joke about sex or play sexual games. About the age of nine the sexes tend to separate [sic]". Whitman (1947:p51-2)[133] states: "On questions of sex the people of San Ildefonso are extremely reticent. Children are taught at an early age not to ask about it. They are told that they are too young to know about such things. In general we found comparatively little interest in the subject expressed either in word or action. Upon careful observation we learned that from about the age of six to the age of ten or eleven small boys do not discuss sex among themselves or refer to their own genitalia or to those of others. Few jokes in relation to sex are made by adult men […] The exposure of the genitalia of little boys and girls appeared to be taken for granted by older groups […]. We were told that when girls reach the age of thirteen, probably at the time of puberty, conception is explained to them by their mothers. Fathers council their sons of about the same age. From the age of twelve, girls who show any interest in boys are said to be "crazy" about them. I have heard the same expression applied to boys who took an interest in girls". In general, children are told "when they are big", and shielded from anything that might horrify them. Even in adolescence, "[b]oth boys and girls evince little interest in each other" (p64). They were both "usually virgins until about the age of sixteen, when they "run around" with partners of about their own age" forming "liaisons" that are "brief, and though tolerated […] not approved, especially in the case of girls. […] Older men do not run after young girls, nor do older women solicit young men" (p70-1).



Powhatans  (North America)  [up] [Contents] [Ethnographic Index]


A Powhatan girl becomes marriageable at puberty and the man has to persuade her into marriage by giving her presents of meat, fish and wild plant foods[134].



Iroquois (eHRAF) (North America)  [up] [Contents] [Ethnographic Index]


"Early sexual curiosity and experimentation were regarded as a natural childish way of behaving, out of which it would, in due time, grow" (Wallace, 1972 [1969:p35])[135]. At puberty, a ceremonial gathering takes place with requires abstinence of sexual activity, "which they had been free to indulge, to the limits of their powers, before" (p37). There is also a "mild puberty ritual" at menarche.



Chipewyans, Chippewa (eHRAF) (North America)  [up] [Contents] [Ethnographic Index]


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[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)[137]. Sister Hilger (1951:p156)[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[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.



Shuswap  (North America)  [up] [Contents] [Ethnographic Index]


Among the Shuswap (Teit, 1909:p590)[140], boys and girls were "not allowed to smoke or have sexual connection until after their periods of training. To indulge in the latter during their training would have a disastrous effect on their future, would render of no avail to the training they had undergone, and would make it impossible to obtain a manitou or become proficient in "mystery" for a long time. It would also make them heaveyfooted, slow, and short-winded in after years".



Omaha (3-,3+,3+,4,2+,3;2,2) (North America)  [up] [Contents] [Ethnographic Index]


Mead (1932:p189-91)[141] relates that traditionally girls were instructed by grandmothers. Rated "essentially puritanical", young girls were "bred to modesty and fear, and chaperoned on all occasions" (cf. p120-1). There are few remarks on childhood, except that "[h]omosexual sex play among children is reported and this may partly account for the lack of frigidity in adult women". Also, "[b]ecause of the fear of homosexuality, the older girls are discouraged from showing too much personal interest in the younger ones" (p119).



Klamath (2+,2+,-,3+,3-,3-;2,2) (North America)  [up] [Contents] [Ethnographic Index]


"Until the age of six or seven, boys and girls play together as much as they wish. When a bit older they will be warned not to be intimate with members of the opposite sex, but young children often play at "man and wife" in imitation of their elders, using the proper status terms for husband and wife and pretending to keep house. The boys go off to hunt, and the girls wait for them to bring meat home to cook. Such play is not discouraged, nor is it apparently encouraged" (Pearsall, 1950)[142]. The history of a 33-year-old female Klamath was less merriful: "She received no direct sex training, and was 18 before she discovered the significance of her menses. Her first sexual experience was at 8, when she was molested by a cousin" (Clifton, 1963)[143]. Girls usually marry within a year of puberty, which is marked, at least among the well-to-do, with a big dance. Betrothals may have been arranged while the couple were yet pre-adolescent, presents having been exchanged by the families. […] it does happen that an older man marries a young girl". A girl's consent is not necessary but "the majority of marriages follow the desire of the couples" (Spier, 1930:p45, 68)[144].

"Erotic" songs pass under the name of pilpil or puberty songs (Gatschet, 1890)[145]. "They include lines on signs of womanhood, courting, love sentiments, disappointments in love, marriage fees paid to parents, on marrying and on conjugal life. […] [T]hey all refer in fact to love-making and kindred sentiments, the satiric lines confirming the proverbial inclination of lovers to fight among themselves".



Ojibwa  (Northern Sa[u]lteaux: -,-,2,2+,3,3;5,5;G2) (eHRAF) (North America)  [up] [Contents] [Ethnographic Index]

"All women once had toothed vaginas, and until Wisekedjak, by accident, discovered the pleasure of sexual intercourse, no one knew about it"[146].


Although listed as a "sexually permissive" society by Ford and Beach (1951:p188), ethnographic accounts are remarkably silent about Ojibwa childhood sexual freedom. Recent writings focus on sexual abuse. Landes (1937a:p14)[147] comments on sexual training, but it does not prove to be particularly permissive. Rather, "the moral sentiments are vigorous andeven little girls are drilled to know that it is forbidden to flirt with little boys of the phratry" (p36). The sexes tend to be avoidant of the other from about age eight. However, "Children saw their parents together, and then later they would imitate their parents. After a while, imitation was replaced by real experience. Still, at puberty, the mother tells her daughter, "Don't let a man get near you" " (p72). "However, the childhood habits ["During the summer, the children play together in mixed groups, and part of their play is the imitation of the intimate behavior of adults. Girls are supposed to be passive, and boys are supposed to pursue them. The game of love is a tremendous important preoccupation, and is enriched with songs, music, tales of ascetic and faithful devotion, of suicides, and even visions"], and the insistence of boys and men, nullify this caution, and almost every girl bears one or more illegitimate children" (Landes, 1937b:p122)[148].

"Sexual avoidance does not begin until about the age of eight" (Dunning, 1959:p99)[149]. Dunning speaks of "a fairly general practice of pre-marital sexual relations, from shortly after puberty" (p146). Sexual use of the children in church-operated residential schools by ministers, priests, nuns, and teachers was said to be widespread[150]. The Ojibwas felt that the vision fast should occur before the child engaged in any sexual activity (Vecsey, 1983:p125-6)[151], specifically not sexual intercourse (Hallowell, 1966 [1976:p464])[152] (one informant states it occurred first at age 13).

Shkilnyk (1985)[153]:


"The young people of the reserve have no role models to follow. They see their parents' indifference to sexual taboos designed to protect the species from deformity and genetic weakness. They see the adults' behavior during drinking parties. And they note that the old precepts of courtship and marriage are not relevant to social relations. As a result, the traditional Indian idea that a man and woman should constitute a "family unit" prior to consummating their union through sexual relations is no longer an operative principle. Today, the young girls desperately want to conceive, because a child gives them something to live for and someone to love; they don't care about the conditions of its conception. Young people engage in sex at an early age, and girls just beyond puberty bear children".


Hallowell (1949 [1955:p294])[154] observed that "[…] it is believed that any departure from culturally evaluated sex behavior provokes its own penalty- disease and sometimes death. […] The universe is simply constituted in such a way that disease automatically and inevitably follows sexual transgression. This means that ultimately no one can escape moral responsibility for his sexual conduct. He must contemplate it in that light".


"Nothing of a sexual nature is systematically concealed from children as they grew up. The sexual side of life is an open book. […] it is impossible for children living in such close proximity to their parents, either in the old-fashioned wigwam or the more modern log cabin, to escape being aware of the "primal scene". While I do not have sufficient information from which to generalize about the incidence of sex play among prepubescent children, there is no doubt that it occurs. Nonetheless, some phases of it are considered wrong. [This would be indicated by a grown man suffering from a urogenital affliction blaming this on a childhood sex game in a little mock wigwam where a girl put a thimble on his erect penis]. […] sexual references always go unmasked" (p296).


In former days a boy had to be pure (avoiding all heterosocial contact) for obtaining his vigil. Hallowell suggests that "[…] the motivation was strong enough to have reduced overt sexual behavior in the privileged period to a minimum". Postpubertal premarital rendezvous were associated with dances, and were apparently "tolerated".



Tinglit  (eHRAF) (North America)  [up] [Contents] [Ethnographic Index]


Among the Tlingit Indians, "[g]irls and boys before puberty were permitted the greatest familiarity with one another. There was no effort on the part of the elders to prevent the natural sex relations that developed in the growing children. But after puberty all this was changed. The initiated girl was not permitted to have any sexual relations, for her chastity was highly regarded by everyone. Parents made their daughter sleep on a shelf above their own bed to make sure that she would not be molested" (Oberg, 1937:p28[155]; see also De Laguna, 1972[156]). Therefore, the duration of pubertal seclusion was a measure of rank, a custom noted back in 1805 (Von Langdorff, 1814, II:p133)[157].



Cherokee (North America)  [up] [Contents] [Ethnographic Index]


[Additional refs.: Sears, J. T. (2002) Out of harmony on the Cherokee Boundary: Clinics, culture and the sex ed curriculum, Sex Educ 2,2:155-69]



Kwakiutl  (North America)  [up] [Contents] [Ethnographic Index]


Kwakiutl boys of 6 or 7 would built little shelters in the forest and play house with girls of comparable age, lying with them in imitation of adult copulation (Voget, 1961). Rohner (1967:p97)[158] writes:


"Children become at least superficially aware of sex at an early age because homes offer little privacy. Children hear about and see adults in bed together during parties, are exposed to the speech of adults and older children [cf. p96], and in many ways come into direct and indirect contact with sex. Bodily modesty is typical of older children and adults, but small children often go without pants or other clothing, especially within their homes. Young children to about the age of seven occasionally explore or manipulate their genitals when they believe they are not being observed, but they rarely do it publicly at later ages. Parents do not instruct children in sexual matters".


Few girls knew about menstruation when it happened. Courtship is an important activity during adolescence, but "little overt romantic behavior is manifested publicly" (p99-100).



Shoshone  (North America)  [up] [Contents] [Ethnographic Index]


Shimkin (1947:p303)[159]: "Masturbation was common among both sexes (it occurs repeatedly in mythology), but was regarded with indifference, being neither repressed nor encouraged". Of girls, it was said that they did not "run around before marriage". Girls are instructed in the menstrual hut, while the core of male adolescence consisted of "a constant battle between social, homosexual society and private heterosexual intimacy" (p305).



Dakota  (North America)  [up] [Contents] [Ethnographic Index]


When a girl is six she is subtly encouraged to "cover up", without explanation (Mirsky, 1937:p420-1)[160]. From age seven or eight she is (made) self-conscious about play with boys, which makes only little children suitable play mates. "They play house, with the young girl taking  over the mother role and the little ones acting as her children. But because there is no boy of her own age in the group, there is no sex play, no playing at marriage or mates". Being supervised continuously, her "sex behaviour is constantly the subject of admonitions and sermons". The difference in sexual status ends with marriage.



Lakota  (North America) [up] [Contents] [Ethnographic Index]


[Additional refs.: Bol, M. C. & Star Boy Menard, N. Z. (2000) 'I saw all that': a Lakota girl's puberty ceremony, Am Indian Culture & Res J 24,1:25-42]



Eskimo (Igulik/Igalik, Boint Barrow, Ammassalik [Greenland], Copper Inuit, Athabascans, Inupiat)  [up] [Contents] [Ethnographic Index]

Early / Age-Stratified Marriage  [up] [Contents] [Ethnographic Index]


For a discussion on Inuit age of marriage, see Smith and Smith (1994:p599-600, n12)[161]. According to Rasmussen (1931:p472), the Netsilik nuptial age of is 14. According to Malaurie (1956:p79)[162], writing about the Northern Greenland Eskimos, "only at about twenty or twenty-four years, when the young hunter is capable of keeping a family, does marriage take place". Arima (1984:p455)[163] states that marriage among Caribou Eskimo usually occurred "when the girl reaches puberty", but he does not indicate the typical age of the groom. Citing various sources, Gilberg (1984:p586-7)[164] notes that among the Polar Eskimo "girls often married between the ages of 12 and 16" while "most men did not marry until their midtwenties", a situation attributed to the excess of males in the population. Damas (1975:p412)[165] states that "girls married quite young in the areas where the sexes were skewed, even before puberty in some cases", but that young men were often unmarried at age eighteen or twenty.

Play Sexuality  [up] [Contents] [Ethnographic Index]


A. Bertelsen (cited by Brusendorff and Henningsen, 1963:p34) [166] noted that, on more than one occasion, Eskimo fathers, having surprised five or six-year-olds at attempts at intercourse with little girls, assembled everyone in the settlement to feed them and celebrate "the son's growing to be a man". According to Bertelsen, "it is not rare for children of twelve to have sexual intercourse [while at examinations] practically no virgins of more than 16 were found" (ibid.). Von Wrangell (1839:p219-20)[167] indicated that a virgin over the age of 12 was rarely found on the Aleutian Islands (Aleut:2+,2+,2+,3,2,2;4,4).

Due to the absence of conversational taboos in the presence of children, there was no secret for them after age 7 or 8 (Hawkes, 1916:p119; Fehlinger, 1926:p19)[168]. Kjellström (1973:p25)[169] further noted that Eskimo boys learn from free observation. The actual sex act "was included in the repertory of games to imitate the copulation between their elders, and the heterosexual contracts started already in childhood. Coitus was practiced during puberty, and sometimes even before puberty. On West Greenland it was not infrequent to have coitus as from the age of 12 years". Speaking of the Sallumiut (Takamiut), Graburn (1969:p190-1)[170] states that traditionally, "Eskimo life was very open, and children learned all about sex from babyhood. Among boys sex activities were initiated at puberty or a little after". The modern pattern of sexarche is estimated at age 16 or 17 for boys, and at 12 or 13 for girls.


Spenner (1959 [1976:p244-5])[171] states: "Heterosexual experimentation in late childhood was apparently not unusual [and] boys and girls, around the age of puberty, might go off together on excursions away from the community and engage in sexual relations". Also (p202), a child bride on Nunivak had sexual intercourse before she reached puberty; among the kuskowagamiut a shaman was the first to have intercourse with a girl[172]. However, the Nunamiut girl "should not have sexual intercourse or be approached until after her second menstruation (Gubser, 1965:p208)[173]. Rasmussen (1931:p197)[174], as quoted by Balikci (1970:p160)[175]: "At a very early age children know all about the problems of propagation, indeed to such a degree that copulation enters into their games. They make small tent rings that are usually called places where one plays at copulation. The result is that the boys and girls lie together at a very early age, sometimes at ten or twelve, and it does happen that adults will lie with little girls that are not yet nubile".


Early sex life among the Eskimo is probably heterogenous. This is suggested by Briggs (1975)[176]. Briggs states that "Qipi children […] learn about [sexual] intercourse, sometimes a soon as they join a play-group; and they practice it, too, or watch their friends doing so, hidden by the rough shore ice at the edge of the camp- an activity laughed at by their elders. But Utku children […] are much more restrained, sexually […]. [In Utku children] there is no courtship and very little sexual conversation or play of any sort- none at all in the case of girls, though adolescent or preadolescent boys may be teased by older men, who ask if they have any pubic hair yet or playfully pretend to grab at their genitals" (p174, 177). In wintertime, male may have "approached" children, although intercourse would be prevented by the family (Jenness, 1922:p239)[177]. Among the Utku Eskimos, "the genitals of small children are the object of public admiration and affection. This is true of boys as well as girls (Briggs, 1986)[178]. "Generally speaking, boys and girls grow up like wild plants, without much care or attention from the time they can run about till they approach puberty" (Jenness).


Oswalt (1963:p44)[179] states:


"Sexual differences and bodily functions are regarded casually from early childhood. Small children often go about the house or outside in the summer wearing nothing more than a shirt. Children also freely urinate and defecate before one another, and they often peek into the windows of a bathhouse where men and women are bathing. Boys and girls play together from the toddler stage to that of marriage, with little or no adult supervision. Schoolchildren sometimes play hide-and-seek in the tall grass behind the village, and during this play there may be talk of sexual organs and activities as well as some experimenting. Sexual interests are further manifested in close body contact during play. Boys and girls lounge on the beds or bump against each other and giggle. They may also grab at each other's pubic region. […] When a group of [adolescent] boys passes a group of girls on a path, often a boy will grab at the pubic region of a girl; the latter is usually aware of his intentions and quickly moves his hand aside. Courtship activities bring adolescents together in the late evening, but during the day a boy never walks with a girl in the village and seldom speaks to one more than to say few words or tease her".


Savishinsky  (1974:p127)[180] noted for the Hare: "Children are allowed the freedom of the village during all ingatherings, and no attempt is made to shelter them from brew parties, or from their sexual and aggressive overtones. Young people learn to adjust to drunken behavior with an accomplished air of stoicism and resignation, and people this become socialized to drinking patterns, violence, and sexuality at a young age". Due to the small houses, "[c]hildren are exposed to and witness sexual relations [of parents] from a young age, which helps foster the people's easy acceptance of sexuality among adults and adolescents" (p123).



Auto-Erotic Asphyxia  [up] [Contents] [Ethnographic Index]


Stearns (1953)[181] reports the following: "Anthropologists have reported that Eskimo children hang themselves in some game, probably sexual [...]". While reported in many societies, parental asphyxia practices during intercourse seem to be imitated by children, and sometimes incorporated in (mutual) masturbation. Freuchen (1961:p212)[182]: "The Eskimos […] are known to choke each other as part of their sexual activity and it is common for their children to suspend themselves by the neck in playing".

Diamond et al. (1990)[183] agree: "Eskimo children have been reported to seek unconsciousness as a delightful game"[184].  Resnick (1972)[185] states: "Children of Shoshone-Bannock Indians play games where suffocation is a part of the game". De Coccola and King report a fatal case (1986:p185-7)[186]:


"Now here again was an opportunity to toy amorously with their new-found playmates, and the youngsters were not going to waste precious moments idly on the sidelines, passively watching the oldsters dance and sing. They left to make their own fun. But tragedy struck them dramatically that night during their sexually oriented hanging game. By no means the children's most popular pastime--that honor went to blind man's bluff--the hanging game was usually played by thrill-seeking youngsters during the Eskimos' great spring assemblies, or at other large gatherings of several families. To my knowledge, adult Eskimos did not indulge in it. The boys had placed a piece of driftwood atop an igloo's dome, tied a sealskin thong around the wood, lowered the other end of the narrow strip of skin through a small hole in the snow roof, and made a lasso at its dangling end. On this occasion a tall, slim 12-year-old boy named Attiguyok used a block of fresh snow underfoot to allow him to reach up and place the sealskin loop around his neck. With his hands tied, he then pressed his feet down against the snowy support until the leather noose tightened about his neck. This maneuver decreased the flow of oxygen to his brain, and heightened his sexual arousal as he was masturbated by some of the young spectators near him. Unfortunately at that moment, word came from beyond the igloos confines that a dog team was approaching the camp. Ever-curious, the children scrambled outside to have a look at the latest arrivals, leaving a helpless, struggling Attiguyok alone to his fate. The partly flattened block of fresh snow, which had supported him, gradually gave way under his feet and he choked to death. By the time his playmates finished welcoming the newcomers to their campsite and returned to their unfinished hanging game, Attiguyok was dead. The children's agonizing cries for help then reached the adults who were blithely singing and dancing in the big igloo. Two male dancers, whom I recognized as Immerak from Hanimok River and Aliknak from Perry River, responded immediately and I followed them. Groups of youngsters milled around the entrance to the fateful igloo, excitedly muttering misgivings such as "Attiguyok is dead! He's hanging in the igloo!" We crept through the narrow passage of the igloo to be confronted with the motionless body of the thin-faced, stubbynosed, open-mouthed lad. His feet barely touched the crumbled block of snow, while his breeches were pulled down to this knees, exposing his genitals.

Immerak and Aliknak pulled up the boy's pants to his waist and lowered his body on to the snow floor. I tried my best to revive Attiguyok, but it was too late. Sorrowful wails now emanated from the big igloo as its adult occupants ran toward us with shouts of "It's too bad, too bad! The little man is dead!" Particularly pathetic were the mournful outcries of Attiguyok's parents who had come for the Celebration of Spring from a little place called Kilinguyak on Kent Peninsula". Attiguyok's body was taken to his family's tent where it was placed in a krepik (sleeping bag) in the customary reclining position with the legs bent, and secured like a bundle of furs--ironically--with sealksin thongs. Traditionally, too, the body was placed behind the tent where it would remain for the next three days.
Although Attiguyok's death understandably put a damper on their festivities, it was temporary and the adults returned to the kalgik to continue dancing and singing throughout the night. The children, too, resumed their frolic as if nothing untoward had happened. But they did not go back to their hanging game".


Ammassalik (Greenland)  [up] [Contents] [Ethnographic Index]


"Complete sex freedom exists before and after marriage". "As soon as a youth puts on a natit, the woman begins to smile and he is ready for marriage. When the girls put on their natit in a topknot as a sign that they are ready for marriage. Neither boy nor  girl needs any further preparation for marriage. Each can carry on the work that is required of him; they have liberal sex knowledge, for there is no privacy achieved or desired in sex; they have no social structure to learn, no formalized ritual. They are as they are and that is the way the society takes them" (Mirsky, 1937:p77)[187].



Qipi  [up] [Contents] [Ethnographic Index]


Briggs (1975)[188]: "Qipi children […] learn about [sexual] intercourse, sometimes a soon as they join a play-group; and they practice it, too, or watch their friends doing so, hidden by the rough shore ice at the edge of the camp- an activity laughed at by their elders". Bales et al. (1994)[189]:


"In the Qipi Eskimo society of the eastern Arctic, for example, parents taught about sex through play and example. Mothers and fathers openly touched, kissed, and admired their babies' genitals during infancy. Sexual play among Eskimo children continued well into adolescence. Children talked openly about sexual experiences, and parents took these discussions as a sign of normal child development. Nevertheless, parents discouraged masturbation during childhood. These people did not admire berdache behavior and thought that masturbation was a precursor to homosexuality".


Point Barrow  [up] [Contents] [Ethnographic Index]


According to Murdock (1892:419)[190], promiscuous sexual intercourse between married or unmarried people or even among children appears to be looked upon simply as matter for amusement.



Copper Inuit (2-,2-,2-,2-,-,-;-,-;EF) (eHRAF)  [up] [Contents] [Ethnographic Index]


De Coccola and King (1986:p85)[191] described the intergenerational transmission of Copper Inuit sexual mores taking place continuous from infancy:


"Normally little Eskimo girls are first shown by their parents how to submit sexually to those little boys to whom they have been promised and to whom they will be married at puberty or sooner. If the young females do not yield their bodies to the advances of their affianced, or if they prove unreceptive, the adults will urge them on with words of encouragement and by suggestive movements. Or else they will poke fun at the beginners and tease them, all the while roaring with laughter [Briggs[192]" was explained that "[When we [Inuit] tell the puppy to bite the little boy's penis off], we aren't trying to make [him] afraid, we're celebrating his maleness"; "We tell children their genitals are bad in order to make them feel a little bit careful" […]".]. Most children were introduced to such sexual games when they were still taking milk from their mothers' breasts. Their parents and neighbors had manipulated their intimate parts as far back as they could remember. It was nothing new to them, and they seemed to enjoy these experiments. Visiting their young friends was another opportune occasion for the children to fondle one another, to excite their sexual desires, and to caricature the physical raptures of their parents with cries of  "It's wonderful!" ".


McElroy (1977, II:p268)[193] gives some observations on Inuit childhood: among these, "Girls try to do the same [urinating off the cliff], holding their clitoris up and arching their back, laughing at their lack of success". Jeness (1922)[194] stated:


"Whatever the causes may be sexual immorality is certainly very rife amongst them, and as certainly disregarded as a matter of no importance. Even the children are doubtfully pure. A married man deliberately mishandled a little girl in the presence of other people, and his action met with no condemnation. The relatives would doubtless interfere if the children were subject to any annoyance, but as long as no trouble arises no one takes any notice. I never knew of any girl being a mother before she is married, for the simple reason that girls always marry about puberty".


Condon (1987)[195] notes:


"Adolescent sexual-activity commences with little or no knowledge of reproductive physiology. All the teenagers we interviewed stated that their parents had given them no advice whatsoever about sex or pregnancy. In most cases, mothers even avoid discussing the implications of menarche with their daughters. When one young girl had her first menses and asked her mother what was happening to her, the mother simply replied that she was "growing up". The father of three daughters stated that most parents are just too shy and embarrassed to discuss such things with their children. The lack of parent-child discourse regarding sexuality may be due also to parental ignorance regarding reproductive physiology. Because of the lack of sexual knowledge, some girls who have become pregnant may not realize it until the second or even third trimester of their pregnancy" (p143-4).


"[…] we note that older boys display a clear preference for interacting in large same-sex groups even as they are developing an interest in more intimate dyadic cross-sex interaction. One explanation is that while these older boys prefer the companionship of same-age and same-sex companions, they are not completely disinterested in the opposite sex. In fact, it may be that awakening sexual interest in the opposite sex leads these older boys, and older girls, to seek out more intimate contact with potential sexual partners outside of the mixed-group context. Thus while young boys and girls are likely to limit their contact with the opposite sex to mixed play groups, older teenagers begin to develop dating relationships and cross-sex friendships that are an outgrowth of initial contacts established within mixed-sex groups. Even as teenage boys spend much time in large same-sex groups, they tend to increase contact with the opposite sex in intimate cross-sex dyads. The fact that boys spend significantly less time in mixed-sex groups than in same-sex groups may not necessarily be due to any conscious segregation between the sexes, but simply because they enjoy the thrill of competitive sports play, in which teenage girls do not participate".


Condon (1983)[196]: "Due to the high value placed upon newborns, the unwed mother, regardless of age, is rarely chastised for her sexual awakening".


[Additional refs: Saladin d'Anglure, B. (2000) [Pijariurniq: Inuit performances and rituals of the first time], Études Inuit 24,2:89-113]



Ingalik (3,3,3,3,3,3;7,7)  [up] [Contents] [Ethnographic Index]


Among the Ingalik (Osgood, 1958:p217)[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)[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)[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".



Iñupiat, Inupiat (Alaska)  [up] [Contents] [Ethnographic Index]


Chance (1990)[200]:


"In general, there was no aura of shame or secrecy about excretory functions, and no reticence in discussing them. During the course of her field work, young girls might say to Jean Briggs "don't look", but girls under four and all boys urinated unconcernedly anywhere out of doors".


Boys and girls in their early teens rarely paired off, most social contacts being sought with the group rather than a given individual. Youths might tease each other with the comment, "You interested in him, right?" but it was not until the age of fifteen or sixteen that Inupiat young people developed a strong interest in members of the opposite sex. At this time, boys began to seek out a particular girl, pay special attention to her, talk with her more than with others, sit beside her in church, and in other ways let her know of his interest. However, except in the most sophisticated segment of the Barrow teenage world, physical demonstrativeness in front of others was deemed improper. And even in Barrow, putting an arm around a girl's shoulder or giving her a squeeze was done in a joking manner - for any open evidence of affection would embarrass both the girl and her friends. Boys rarely visited girls in their homes unless older family members were there; and it was even less common for a girl to visit a boy's home. But as male youths became older, they attempted to arrange clandestine meetings by passing notes at school suggesting a time and place. By the middle teens, girls were very much aware of boys' attentions. Their conversations centered around boys and their activities; they dressed for them, giggled about them, and showed each other secret pictures of their favorite boy friends. The late teens brought more sexual experimentation. Girls did not regularly solicit such involvement, but once initiated, frequently continued. Finding a secluded meeting place presented problems, particularly in winter. Homes of young married couples were often available, although privacy was limited. Parents sometimes expressed concern over this kind of activity, but seldom voiced such opinions openly or directly. Religious precepts did not condone premarital sex, but this seemed to have little effect on the youth's behavior. In earlier times, no clearly defined restrictions were imposed. At infancy, children soon became aware of others sexual activity. By puberty, young men and women occasionally traveled together away from the village, at which time they might contract a quasi-married relationship. Trial marriages were also common - although unbridled promiscuity was viewed with disapproval".



Athabascans (Alaska)   [up] [Contents] [Ethnographic Index]


Hippler (1974:p58-60)[201]: "Customarily Athabascan children in the latency period from about ages 5 to 12 engaged in and still engage in very little sexual exploration […] yet there is a continual covert and very strong interest in sex". Booth sexes are threatened by dire outcome might they "explore" sexually. Thus, "[w]e believe little experimentation occurs before the teen years, but this is not certain, and there is at least hearsay and secondhand evidence of a significant amount of prepubescent sexual activity for certain individuals" (Hippler et al., 1975:p228)[202].



Index to Section: American Natives  [up] [Contents] [Ethnographic Index]



Ammassalik, 28; 32

Antler, 24

Apache, 21

Arapaho, 8

Assiniboine, 14

Athabascans, 35

Auto-Erotic Asphyxia, 31

Blackfoot, 5; 12

Blood Indians, 12

Botocudos, 5

Cajuns, 19

Chaco, 3

Cherokee, 27

Cheyennes, 7

Chipewyans, 5; 24

Chiricahua Apache. See Apache

Comanches, 6

Copper Inuit, 5; 33

Cowichans, 6

Crow, 3; 8

Diné. See Navaho

Eskimo, 28


early / age-stratified marriage, 28

play sexuality, 29

Flathead, 7

Greenland, 28; 32

Gros Ventre, 20

Hare, 30

Hopi, 15

Huron, 14

Ingalik, 34

Inuit, 33

Inupiat, 35

Iroquois, 23

Kaska, 19

Kiowa-Apache, 22

Klamath, 25

Kutenai, 9

Kwakiutl, 3; 27

Menominee, 7

Mohave, 3; 11

Montagnais, 22

Nahane. See Kaska

Navaho, 10

Nootka, 18

North-American Natives, 1

early betrothal / marriage, 4

Nunamiut, 29

Ojibwa, 25

Paiute, 18

Papago, 7

Patagonians, 5

Pawnee, 14

Point Barrow, 5; 32

Pomo, 5; 6

Powhatans, 23

Qipi, 30; 32

Quinault, 18

Quskokwin, 5

Sallumiut, 29

San Ildefonso, 1; 23

Sanpoil, 8


northern, 25

Shoshone, 28

Shoshone-Bannock, 31

Shuswap, 24

Sioux, 8

Takamiut, 29

Tenetehara, 3

Tinglit, 27

Tlingit, 34

Ute, 6; 21

Utku, 30

Wadadika Paiute, 18

Yokuts, 13

Yukon, 5

Yurok, 21

Zuni, 9


Notes  [up] [Contents] [Ethnographic Index]

[Last updated]


[1] Eastman Ch. A.  (1902) Indian Boyhood. University of Nebraska Press, Omaha

[2]Karsch-Haack, F. (1901) Uranismus oder Päderastie und Tribadie bei den Naturvölkern, Jb Sex Zwischenst 3:72ff. Reprinted 1983 (Schmidt, W. J. (Ed.), Vol.1:p229-96

[3] Stein, C. & Hörschelmann, F. (1855) Handbuch der Geographie und Statistik für die Gebildeten Stände. 7th ed. Vol. 1 Leipzig: Hinrichs, p353

[4] Bales, R., Weil, T. & Murdock, T. (1994) Indians: Native North Americans, in Bullough, V. L. & Bullough, B. (Eds.) Human Sexuality: An Encyclopedia. New York & London: Garland Publ.. Inc.

[5] Williams, W. L. (1990) Indians of North America, in Dynes, W. R. (Ed.) Encyclopedia of Homosexuality. New York & London: Garland Publ. Inc. Vol. I, p593-5

[6] Eastman, Ch. (1911) The Soul of the Indian: An Interpretation. Boston, Mass., [etc.]: Houghton Mifflin [etc.]

[7] Voget, F. W. (1961) Sex life of the American Indians, in Ellis, A. & Abarbanel, A. (Eds.) The Encyclopaedia of Sexual Behavior, Volume 1. London: W. Heinemann, p90-109

[8] Erikson, E. ([1963]) Childhood and Society. Second, revised and enlarged edition. New York: W. W. Norton & Co.

[9] Havighurst, R. J. & Neugarten, B. L. (1955) American Indian and White Children: A Sociopsychological Investigation. Chicago: University of Chicago Press

[10] Prizker, B. M. (1998) Native Americans: An Encyclopedia of History, Culture and Peoples. 2 vols. Santa Barbara, CA [etc.]: ABD-CLIO

[11] Callender, Ch. & Kochems, L. M. (1983) The North American Berdache, Curr Anthopol 24,4:443-70

[12] As taken from Carpenter, E. (1914) Intermediate Types among Primitive Folk. Am. ed. New York: Mitchell Kennerley, chs. 1 and 2 (all italics mine): "Every temple or chief house of worship keeps one or two men, or more, according to the idol - who go about attired like women, even from their childhood, and talk like women, and imitate them in their manner, carriage, and all else". [Cieza de Leon (1554) La Chronica del Peru. Antwerp, ch. 64]. "Has a boy with a pretty face also a graceful demeanour? The mother no longer permits him to associate companions of his own age, but clothes him and brings him up as a girl. Any stranger would be deceived as to his sex, and when he is about fifteen he is sold for a good round sum to a wealthy personage. [footnote omitted] 'Choupans', or youths of this kind are highly prized by the Konyagas. On the other hand, there are to be met with here and there among the Esquimaux or kindred populations, especially in Youkon, girls who decline marriage and maternity. Changing their sex, so to speak, they live as boys, adopting masculine manners and customs, they hunt the stag, and in the chase shrink from no danger; in fishing from no fatigue. [...] The priests in office do not leave the recruiting of their pupils to chance; they make choice at an early age of boys or girls" [Elie Reclus, nd, Primitive Folk (Contemporary Science Series). London: Walter Scott Studies, p68, 71, speaking of the "Inoits" [Inuit]]; "The male wizards are obliged (as it were) to leave their sex, and to dress themselves in female apparel, and are not permitted to marry, though the female ones or witches may. They are generally chosen for this office when they are children, and a preference is always shown to those who at that early time of life discover an effeminate disposition. They are clothed very early in female attire, and presented with the drum and rattles belonging to the profession they are to follow". [Thomas Falkner (1775)  Description of Patagonia and of the Neighboring Countries of South America. Hereford & London. German translation, Gotha, 1775, p117]

[13]Trexler, R. C. (2002) Making The American Berdache: Choice or Constraint? J Soc Hist 35,3:613-36. Cf. Benjamin, H.  (1966) The Transsexual Phenomenon. New York: The Julian Press, Inc. Publishers, esp. Appendix C: Transsexualism: Mythological, Historical, And Cross-Cultural Aspects

[14] Whitehead, H. (1981) The bow and the burden strap: a new look at institutionalized homosexuality in native North-America, in Ortner, Sh. B. & Whitehead, H. (Eds.) Sexual Meanings. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, p80-115. Reprinted in Abelove, H. (Ed., 1993) The Lesbian and Gay Studies Reader. New York: Routledge, 498-527

[15] Roscoe, W. (1994) How to Become a Berdache: Toward a Unified Analysis of Gender Diversity, in Herdt, G. (Ed.) Third Sex, Third Gender: Beyond Sexual Dimorphism in Culture and History. New York: Zone Books, p329-72

[16] Sauer, M. (1802) Account of Billing's Expedition. London, p160. As cited by Trexler (2002:p618), op.cit.

[17] Quaife, M. M. (Ed., 1947) The Western Country in the 17th Century: the Memoirs of Lamothe Cadilla and Pierre Liette, Chicago. As cited by Trexler (2002:p624), op.cit.

[19] McCaa, R. (1994) Marriageways in Mexico and Spain, 1500-1900, Continuity & Change [Great Britain] 9,1:11-43

[20]Murdock (1892:p410); Parsons, E. C. (1906) The Family. New York & London: G. P. Putnam's Sons, p70

[21] Sumner, W. G. (1906) Folkways. Boston [etc.]: Ginn & Co.

[22] Nelson, E. W. ( 1899) The Eskimo About Behring Strait. 18th Annual Report of the Bureau of Ethnology, Part.1, p291-2; Parsons (1906:p70)

[23] Boas, F. (1888) The Central Eskimo. 6th Annual Report of the Bureau of Ethnology; Parsons (1906:p70)

[24] Condon, R. G. (1987) Inuit Youth: Growth and Change in the Canadian Arctic. New Brunswick, N.J.: Rutger University Press. Damas, D. (1984) Copper Eskimo. Washington, D.C.: Smithsonian Institution Press: "Marriage was arranged during infancy or at birth, and in most documented cases, betrothal was arranged between some sort of cousins. Marriage was acknowledged when both of the betrothed, or more frequently, when the girl reached puberty". Damas, D. (1972) The Copper Eskimo. New York: Holt, Rinehart & Winston, Inc.: "Child betrothal was widely practiced. Marriages were usually contracted early in the childhood of the pair"; […] [D]uring the period 1925-1955 […] [c]hild betrothal was still common and began to fade only in the centralized communities of the contemporary period".

[25] Bean, L. J. (1978) Western Pomo and Northeastern Pomo. Washington: Smithsonian Institution

[26] Lewis, O. (1973) The Effects of White Contact upon Blackfoot Culture. Seattle; London: University of Washington Press

[27] Teit (1900:p321); Parsons (1906:p73-4)

[28] Franklin, Journey, p263, as cited by Westermarck (1901, 3rd ed.), p123. Other data on early engagements among the Eskimo would be found in Hall, Arctic Researches, p567; "Das Ausland", 1881, p698; Cranz (I, p146); Wiatz, III:p308)

[29] Richardson (II, p23); Mackenzie (cxxiii)

[30] Bancroft (I, p276 et seq.); Mayne, Four Years in British Colombia and Vancouver Islands, p276 (Nutkas)

[31] Van Martius (I, p322)

[32]Falkner (p124); Kind and Fitzroy (II, p152 et seq.)

[33]Shoshones (Lewis & Clarke, Travels to the Source of the Missouri River, p307), Arawaks (Schomburgk, II, p460; Brett, p99 et seq.), Marcusís (Van Martius, I, p645)

[34] Edwards, S. (1992) Among Native American Teenagers, Sex Without Contraceptives is Common, Fam Plann Perspect 24,4:189-91

[35] Stewart, J. L. (1960) The problem of stuttering in certain North American Indian societies, J Speech & Hearing Disord 6:87

[36] Bean, L. J. (1978) Western Pomo and Northeastern Pomo. Washington: Smithsonian Institution

[37] Loeb, E. M. (1926) Pomo Folkways. Berkeley: University of California Press

[38] Powers, S. (1877) The Pomo, in Tribes of California. Washington: Government Printing Office, p146-95, 204-17, 491-517

[39] Wallace, E. & Hoebel, E. A. (1952) The Comanches: Lords of the South Plains. Norman: University of Oklahoma

[40] Linton, R. (1945) The Comanche, in Kardiner, A. (Ed.) The Psychological Frontiers of Society. New York: Colombia University Press. 1956 reprint, p47-80

[41]Turney-High, H. H. (1937) The Flathead Indians of Montana. Menasha, WI: American Anthropological Association

[42] Spinler, G. (1977) The Menominee, in Spindler, G. & Spindler, L. (Eds.) Native North American Cultures. New York [etc.]: Holt, Rinehart & Winston, p361-498

[43] Underhill, R. M. (1936 [1979]) Papago Woman. New York: Holt, Rinehart & Winston

[44] Underhill, R. M. (1939) Social Organization of the Papago Indians. Columbia University Contributions in Anthropology 30. New York: AMS, 1969 reprint

[45] Llewellyn, K. N. & Hoebel, E. A. (1941) The Cheyenne Way. Norman: University of Oklahoma Press

[46] Grinnell, G. B. (1923) The Cheyenne Indians. Vol. 1. New Haven: Yale University Press. Also quoted by Llewellyn and Hoebel (1941:p245), op.cit.

[47] Hoebel, E. A. (1960) The Cheyennes: Indians of the Great Plains. New York: Holt, Rinehart & Winston

[48] Hilger, M. I. (1952) Arapaho Child Life and Its Cultural Background. Washington, D.C.: United States Government Printing Office

[49] MacGregor, G. (1946) Warriors Without Weapons. Chicago: University of Chicago Press

[50] Sarlin, Ch. N. (1975) Masturbation, Culture and psychosexual development, in Marcus, I. M. & Francis, J. J. (Eds.) Masturbation. New York: International Universities Press, p349-80

[51] Hassrick, R. B. (1964) The Sioux. Norman: Oklahoma University Press

[52] Erikson, E. H. (1945) Childhood and tradition in two American Indian tribes, Psychoanal Study Child 1:319-50. Reprinted in Haring (1949 [1956:255-86]), op.cit.

[53] Voget, F. W. (1961) Sex life of the American Indians, in Ellis, A. & Abarbanel, A. (Eds.) The Encyclopaedia of Sexual Behavior, Volume 1. London: W. Heinemann, p90-109

[54] Lowie, R. H. (1935[1956]) The Crow Indians. New York: Holt, Rinehart & Winston

[55]Voget, F. W. (1964) Warfare and the integration of Crow Indian culture, in Goodenough, W. H. (Ed.) Explorations in Cultural Anthropology. New York [etc.]: McGraw-Hill, p483-509

[56] Cf. Lowie (1912:p220), Social Life of the Crow Indians

[57] Leighton, D. C. & Adair, J. (1966) People of the Middle Place: A Study of the Zuni Indians. New Haven: HRAF

[58] Roscoe, W. (1991) The Zuni Man-Woman. Alburquerque: University of New Mexico Press

[59] Benedict, R. (1934) Patterns of Culture. Boston: Houghton, Mifflin Company

[60] Turney-High, H. H. (1941 [1969]) Ethnography of the Kutenai. New York: Kraus Reprint

[61] Leighton, D. & Kluckhohn, C. (1948) Children of the People: The Navaho Individual and his Development. Cambridge: Harvard University Press

[62]Kluckhohn, C. (1947) Some Aspects of Navaho Infancy and Early Childhood, in Róheim, G. (Ed.) Psychoanalysis and the Social Sciences, Vol.1. New York : International Universities Press; Kluckhohn, C. (1948) Some Aspects of Navaho Infancy and Early Childhood, Am Anthropol 50:536ff. Also in Haring ([1949], p396-407). See also Stephens (1962:p20-2), op.cit.

[63] Dyk, W. (1938) Son of Old Man Hat. Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press. Relevant pages include p10, 44, 46, 97, 119, 137, 208

[64]Proskauer, S. (1980) Oedipal equivalents in a clan culture: Reflections on Navajo ways, Psychia 43,1:43-50

[65]Tohe, L. (2000) There is No Word for Feminism in My Language, Wicaso Sa Rev, Fall:103-10

[66] Bailey, F. L. (1950) Some sex beliefs and practices in a Navaho community. Cambridge: Peabody Mus Am Archeol & Ethnol 12, Harvard Univ

[67] Devereux, G. (1936) Sexual life of the Mohave Indians., Doctoral Dissertation, University of Berkeley, California, p32; Devereux, G. (1937) Institutionalized homosexuality of the Mohave Indians, Hum Biol 9:498-527. Reprinted in Ruitenbeek, H.M. (Ed.) The Problem of Homosexuality in Modern Society. New York : Dutton & Co., p183-226; and in Dynes, W. R. & Donaldson, S. (Eds., 1992) Ethnographic Studies of Homosexuality. New York & London: Garland, p136-65; Devereux, G. (1938) L'evoûtement chez las Indiens Mohave, J Soc Américanists de Paris 29:405-12; Devereux, G. (1940) Primitive psychiatry I, Bull Hist Med 8:1194-213; Devereux, G. (1948) Mohave zoophilia, Samiska 2:227-45; Devereux, G. (1950a) Heterosexual behavior of the Mohave Indians, in Róheim, G. (Ed.) Psychoanalysis and the Social Sciences, Vol. II. New York: International University Press, p85-128; Devereux, G. (1950b) Mohave Indian autoerotic behavior, Psychoanal Rev 37:201-20. Discussed in Ann Survey Psychoanal 1(1950), p92, 304-5; Devereux, G. (1950c) The psychology of feminine genital bleeding; an analysis of Mohave Indian puberty and menstrual rites, Int J Psychoanal 31:237-57. Discussed in Ann Survey Psychoanal 1(1950), p305-6; Devereux, G. (1951a) The Primal Scene and Juvenile Heterosexuality in Mohave Society, in Wilbur, G. & Muensterberger, W. (Eds.) Psychoanalysis and Culture. New York: International Universities Press, p90-107. Discussed by Devereux, G., in Ann Survey Psychoanal 2(1951), p502-5; Devereux, G. (1951b) Mohave Indian Verbal and Motor Profanity, in Roheim, G. (Ed.) Psychoanalysis and the Social Sciences. New York: International Universities Press. Vol 3., p99-127. More on Mohave children in Devereux, G. (1950c)  Amusement and Sports of Mohave Indians Children, The Masterkey 24:143-52; Devereux, G. (1950d) Notes on the Developmental Pattern and Organic Needs of Mohave Indian Children, Transact Kansas Acad Sci 53,2:178-85; Devereux, G. (1950e) Status, Socialisation and Interpersonal Relations of Mohave Children, Psychiatry 13,4:489-502; Devereux, G. (1968)L'image de l'enfant dans deux tribus, mohave et sedang et son importance pour la psychiatrie infantile, Rev Neuropsychia Infantile 16,4:375-90. See also his 1951 Reality and Dream: Psychotherapy of a Plains Indian. New York: IUP; Italiaander, R. (Ed., 1969) Weder Krankheit Noch Verbrechen. Hamburg: Gala, p91-8; and Williams, W. (1986) The Spirit and the Flesh: Sexual Diversity in American Indian Culture. Boston: Beacon

Press, p89-90

[68] Devereux, G. (1950) Education and Discipline in Mohave Society, Anthropol Quart 23,4:85-102

[69] Devereux (1951a), op.cit.

[70] Devereux, G. (1948) The Mohave Indian Kamalo:y, J Clin Psychopath 9:433-57

[71] See also Devereux (1951b:p125), op.cit.

[72] Nettle, M. A. I., Mohave Women. MS of a lecture delivered before a woman's club, Parker, Arizona, as cited by Devereux (1951:p105), op.cit.

[73] Wallace, W. J. (1948) Infancy and childhood among the Mohave Indians, Anthropol Quart 21:19-38

[74]McClintock, W. (1910) The Old North Trail. London: Macmillan & Co.

[75]Goldfrank, E. S. (1951) Observations on sexuality among the blood Indians of Aberta, Canada, Psychoanal & Soc Sci 3:71-98

[76] Goldfrank, E. S. (1966) Changing Configurations in the Social Organization of a Blackfoot Tribe During the Reserve Period (the Blood of Alberta, Canada). Seattle; London: University of Washington Press

[77] Hungry Wolf, B. (1980) The Ways of my Grandmothers. New York: Morrow

[78] Knifen, F., MacGregor, G., McKennan, R., Mekeel, S. & Mook, M. (1935) Walapi Ethnography. Memoirs of the American Anthropological Association 42, p136-40

[79] Gayton, A. H. (1948) Yokuts and Western Mono Ethnography. Vol II: Northren Foothill Yokuts and Western Mono. Berkeley & Los Angeles: University of California Press

[80] Spier, R. F. G. (1978) Foothill Yokuts, in Heizer, R. (Ed.) Handbook of North American Indians. Vol.8. Washington: Smithsonian Institution, p471-84

[81] Wallace, W. J. (1978) Southern Valley Yokuts, in Heizer, R. (Ed.) Handbook of North American Indians. Vol.8.. Washington: Smithsonian Institution, p448-61

[82] Lowie, R. H. (1909) The Assiniboine. New York: The Trustees

[83] Sagard, Th. F. G. le (1632) Le Grand Voyage au Pays des Hurons. Paris; Ronhaar, J. H. (1931) Woman in Primitive Motherright Societies. Groningen: Wolters/ London: D. Nutt, p335; Tooker, E. (1964) An Ethnography of the Huron Indians, 1615-1649. Washington: Smithsonian Institution, p125

[84] Dorsey, G. A. & Murie, J. R. (1940) Notes on Skidi Pawnee Society. Prepared for publication by Alexander Spoehr. Chicago: Field Museum Press. Anthropological series Field Museum of Natural History 27,2, p65-119

[85] Eggan, D. (1944) Hopi Marriage and Family Relations, Marr Family Living 6,1:1-2+6

[86] Simmons, L. (1942) Sun Chief. New Haven: Yale University Press

[87] "[…] every male child was tickled in his private parts by adults who wished to win smiles and sometimes to stop crying. No doubt other children, including my brother and sister, played with me in the same way" (p34).

[88] Schlegel, A. (1979) Sexual antagonism among the sexually egalitarian Hopi, Ethos 7,2:124-41, see p124. As Schegel notes: "These institutionalized forms of aggression are emotionally salient and are greatly enjoyed (except by the small victim of the castration threat) […]".

[89] See also Titiev, M. (1971) Old Oraibi: A Study of the Hopi Indians of the Third Mesa. New York: Kraus Reprint Co. Reprint of 1944 edition, p30. "[…] adult women during clown performances do not hesitate to simulate copulation with pre-adolescent boys".

[90] Oswalt, W. H. (1973) This Land was Theirs. Second edition. New York: J. Wiley & Sons

[91] Aberle, D. (1951) The Psychosocial Analysis of a Hopi Life-History. Berkeley and Los Angeles: University of California Press

[92] Eggan, F. (1950) Social Organization of the Western Pueblos.Chicago, University of Chicago Press

[93] Titiev (1971), op.cit.

[94] Noted by Ford and Beach (1951:p188) and Stephens (1971:p407)

[95] All these items were gathered at Oraibi but similar data are given in Beaglehole, E., and P., 1935, p39–41. Other details may be found under the title "A Few Sex Practices" in Part Three [orig.footnote].

[96] See Parsons, E. C. ([1969]) The Hopi Journal of Alexander M. Stephen. New York: AMS Press, [1969]. Reprint of 1936 edition. Vol.1, p366

[97]Beaglehole, E. & Beaglehole, P. (1935) Hopi of the Second Mesa. Menasha, Wisconsin: American Anthropological Association


[99] Dennis, W. (1940) The Hopi Child. New York: John Wiley & Sons. See also Whiting, J. & Child, I. (1953) Child Training and Personality: A Cross-Cultural Study. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, p83-4

[100] Schlegel, A. (1973) The adolescent socialization of the Hopi girl, Ethnology 12:449-62

[101] Goldfrank, E. S. (1945/1956) Socialization, personality, and the structure of Pueblo society, Am Anthropol 47:516-39. Reprinted in Haring (1956), 3rd.ed., p303-27

[102] Titiev, M. (1971) The Hopi Indians of Old Oraibi: Change and Continuity. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press

[103] Dozier, E. P. (1954) The Hopi-Tewa of Arizona. Berkeley & Los Angelos: University of California Press

[104] Schlegel, A. (1989) Fathers, Daughters, and Kachina Dolls, Eur Rev Native Am Stud 3,1:7-10 p.

[105] Schlegel, A. (1975) Hopi Joking and Castration Threats, in Kinkade, M. D. (Ed.), Linguistics and Anthropology: In Honor of C. F. Voegelin. Lisse: Peter de Ridder Press

[106] Brandt, R. B. (1954) Hopi Ethics. Chicago: Chicago University Press

[107] Thompson, L. (1950) Culture in Crisis. New York: Harper & Brothers

[108] Honigmann, J. J. (1972) North America, in Hsu, F. (Ed.) Psychological Anthropology. New ed. Cambridge, Mass.: Schenkman, p121-65

[109] Sekaquaptewa, H. ([1969]) Me and Mine: The Life Story of Helen Sekaquaptewa. Tuscon: University of Arizona Press

[110] Whiting, B. B. (1942) Paiute Sorcery. New Haven: Yale University. 1950 reprint, New York

[111] Kelly, I. T. (1932) Ethnography of the Surprise Valley Paiute. Berkeley: University of California Press

[112] Steward, J. H. (1933) Ethnohraphy of the Owens Valley Paiute,  Univ Califor Publ Am Archeol & Ethnol 33,3:233-350

[113] Koppert, V.A. (1930) The Nootka family, Anthropol Quart 3,1/4:49-55

[114] Storm, J. M. (1990) Land of the Quinault. Taholah, Wash.: Quinault Indian Nation

[115] Olson, R. L. (1936) The Quinault Indians. Seattle, Wash.: The University of Washington. Yet: "Young men ordinarily did not contemplate marriage until the all-important supernatural power had been acquired, but girls were regarded as fit for marriage as soon as they had completed the five months of seclusion. From that time until marriage the girl was closely watched lest she have affairs and become pregnant. Marriage was largely regulated by the parents, yet the wishes of the young were seldom violated". CF. Storm, op.cit.: "Having gone through her rituals of several months, the girl was ready for marriage".

[116] Tentchoff, D. (1977) Speech in a Louisiana Cajun Community. Ann Arbor, Mich.: University Microfilms International

[117]Ancelet, B. J. (1991) Cajun Country. Jackson, Miss.: University Press of Mississippi

[118] Underwood, F. W. & Honigmann, I. (1947) A comparison of socialization and personality in two simple societies, Am Anthropol 49:557-77.  Reprinted in Haring, D. G. (Ed., 1956) Personal Character and Cultural Milieu. Syracuse, New York: Syracuse University Press. 3rd. Ed., p745-66

[119] Honigmann, J. J. (1949) Culture and Ethos of Kaska Society. New Haven: Yale University Press

[120] Honigmann, J. J. (1954) The Kaska Indians. New Haven: Yale University Press

[121] Flannery, R. (1953) The Gros Ventre of Montana: Part I: Social Life. Washington, DC: Catholic University of America; Paige, K. E. & Paige, J. M. (1981) The Politics of Reproductive Ritual. Berkeley (etc.): University of California Press

[122] Erikson, E. H. (1943-43) Observations on the Yuok: childhood and world image, Univ Calif Publ Am Archeol & Ethnol 35:257-301

[123] Opler, M. K. (1963) The Southern Ute of Colorado, in Linton, R. (Ed.) Acculturation in Seven American Indian Tribes. Gloucester, Mass.: P. Smit, p119-203

[124] Opler, M. E. (1941) An Apache Life-Way. Chicago, IL. Relevant pages include 33, 77, 79-81, 154. Also quoted by Whiting and Child (1953:p82-3), and Fox, J. R. (1962) Sibling incest, J Sociol 13:128-50, see p138-9. Also Ford and Beach (1951:p129, 180) and Whiting and Child (1953:p82-3).

[125] Boyer, L. B. (1979) Childhood and Folklore: A Psychoanalytic Study of Apache Personality. New York: Library of Psychological Anthropology

[126]Boyer, L. B. (1964) Psychological problems of Apaches, Psychoanal Stud Soc 3:203-77

[127] Boyer, L. B. (1982) Kindheit und Mythos. Stuttgart: Klett-Cotta

[128] Goodwin, G. (1942) The Social Organization of the Western Apache. Tuscon, Ariz.: University of Arizona Press. 1969 repr.

[129]Op.cit. Quoted in Whiting and Child (1953:p85)

[130] McAllister, J. G. (1955) Kiowa-Apache social organization, in Eggan, F. (Ed.) Social Anthropology of North American Tribes. Second enlarged ed. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, p99-169

[131] Burgesse, J. A. (1944) The woman and child among the lac-St.-Jean Montagnais, Primitive Man 17:1-18

[132] Whitman, W. (1963) The San Ildefonso of New Mexico, in Linton, R. (Ed.) Acculturation in Seven American Indian Tribes. Gloucester, Mass.: P. Smit, p390-62

[133] Whitman, W. (1947) The Pueblo Indians of San Ildefonso, a changing culture, in Whitman, M. W. (Ed.) New York: Colombia University Press

[134] Miller, R. R. (1985) Mexico: A History. Norman: University of Oklahoma Press

[135] Wallace, A. F. C. (1972[1969]) The Death and Rebirth of the Seneca. New York: Vintage Books

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

[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.: National Museum of Canada

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

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

[140] Teit, J. A. (1909) The Shuswap. Leiden: Brill. [Vol.II, part 7]

[141] Mead, M. (1932) The Changing Culture of an Indian Tribe. New York: AMS Press

[142]Pearsall, M. (1950) Klamath Childhood and Education. Berkeley: University of California Press

[143] Clifton, J. A. (1963) Klamath Personalities: Ten Rorschach Case Studies. Lawrence, Kansas: Dept. of Sociology and Anthropology, University of Kansas

[144] Spier, L. (1930) Klamath Ethnography. Berkeley: University of California Press

[145] Gatschet, A. S. (1890) The Klamath Indians of Southwestern Oregon. Washington: Gov't. Print. Off.

[146] Hallowell, A. I. (1991) The Ojibwa of Berens River, Manitoba: Ethnography into History. Fort Worth: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich College Publishers

[147] Landes, R. (1937) Ojibwa Sociology. New York: Columbia University Press

[148] Landes, R. (1937b) The Ojibwa of Canada, in Mead, M. (Ed.) Cooperation and Competition among Primitive Peoples. New York & London: McGraw-Hill Book Co., p87-126

[149] Dunning, R. W. (1959) Social and Economic Change among the Northern Ojibwa. Toronto: University of Toronto Press

[150] Lavalee, 'M. A. (1968) Too Little Too Late, Arbos 5,2:[26–9, 35]

[151] Vecsey, Ch. (1983) Traditional Ojibwa Religion and its Historical Changes. Philadelphia: American Philosophical Society

[152] Hallowell, A. I. (1966) The role of freams in Ojibwa culture, in Von Grunebaum, G. E. & Caillois, R. (Eds.) The Dream and Human Scieties. Berkeley: University of California Press, p267-92 [eHRAF]

[153] Shkilnyk, A. M. (1985) A Poison Stronger than Love: The Destruction of an Ojibwa Community. New Haven: Yale University Press

[154] Hallowell, A. I. (1949) Psychosexual adjustment, personality, and the good life in a nonliterate culture, in Hoch, P. W. & Zubin, J. (Eds.) Psychosexual Development in Health and Disease. New York: Grune & Stratton. Reprinted in Hallowell, A. I. (1955) Culture and Experience. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania, p291-305

[155] Oberg, K. (1937) The Social Economy of the Tlingit Indians. Ph.D. Thesis, University of Chicago

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

[157]Ref. By Emmons, G. Th. (1991) The Tlingit Indians. Seattle, New York: University of Washington Press

[158] Rohner, R. P. (1967) The People of Gilford: A Contemporary Kwakiutl Village. Ottawa: National Museum of Canada Bull. 225

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