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The Cheyenne Language is part of the Algonquian Language family. At menarche, a horse was given away in honor of a girl's first period. After that, during menstruation, girls were required to go to a menstrual hut each month. They Cheyenne were unique in that they valued virginity of females. All girls were expected to be virgins until marriage. They had a form of a chastity belt, like a cord, which girls were required to wear from puberty until marriage. Men had to have a respectable war record before they were allowed to marry. Courtship was formal and lasted years. A Cheyenne man made a formal proposal for marriage to the girl's family with horses were loaded with gifts, food and guns for the girl's family. If accepted the gifts were then reciprocated to the groom's family. The Cheyenne had a bilateral kinship system. Right after marriage the couple had a short matrilocal residency, except during wartime. During wartime, they had a patrilocal residency. Polygyny was highly valued and one-third of Cheyenne children were born in polygynous households. Childbirth was attended by other women and midwives. Men were sent away during the childbirth because it was believed that they irritated the mother-to-be. The umbilical cord was cut, dried, and preserved in a small beaded buckskin bag and the infant was placed on a cradleboard or a blanket sling. At age 5 or 6, a child's ears were pierced ceremonially with public gift giving.
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Cheyenne & Arapaho Manuscript Collections
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Cheyenne Language: Tsitsistas, Tsetsehestehese
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