Heritage Site / Ethnography Site / Dene / Family Life

Article: Marriage Arrangements

The life cycle begins at birth and ends with death. This seems to be the way for many cultures, but in the Dene culture, marriage seems to play the important part as the beginning of a family life cycle, so we will begin to talk about living together after marriage. Men and women were bound to their parent's decision when it came to marriage. When a child reached puberty, their parents would arrange for a life mate. The elders and the community members acknowledged the marriage. The young girls seldom became pregnant before marriage because the women of the community were all responsible for their protection and they were watched closely. If a girl became pregnant then the person responsible would have to marry her, if he refused to do so, he was told to make arrangements to take care of the woman and the child. If he still refused then he would be banished from the community. Marriage is very important but most of all it was important on how the children were taken care of and their education was crucial to the survival of the people.