Heritage Site / Ethnography Site / Nakawé / Family Life

Article: Childhood

Besides their treatment according to their duties as assigned by their gender, boys and girls were treated much the same by the Elder citizens. Children of the Saulteaux were very much lavished with affection and were rarely beaten or spanked for discipline. Instead they followed the rule of example, social isolation and ridicule as a consequence of their misbehaviour. The rule of example and the role of teacher prevented the parents from treating the child with the same affection as the Grandparents or any other relative.

The first fruits ceremony was a way to encourage children's gender designated behaviour. The boys were praised and encouraged to become hunters and were given a feast when their first kill was achieved. The same happened to a girl when she skinned and tanned her first hide or brought in her first load of wood. Such feasts invited the whole of the family and community to take part in the celebrations.