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The Spokane Language is part of the Salishan Language family. They have a bilateral kinship system. Men of high ranking status were polygynous, usually sororal polygyny. At menarche, a girl was confined in a menstrual hut with taboos placed on her such as using a scratching stick. Until a woman was married, she was never permitted to be alone, and always had to have a chaperone. For a boy's puberty rite, he was conditioned for a vision quest: running, swimming to a condition where he fasted in seclusion for three days. Both men and women used the sweat lodge daily as religious and spiritual cleansing. Marriages were arranged by the couple's family. Boys married at age 18-20 and girls could marry from puberty on. There was no formal ceremony but the families had a reciprocal feast and gift giving. During pregnancy, women had to observe a strict diet and behavior taboos. At birth, the baby was plunged into cold water and rubbed vigorously with soft hides. An attendant tied the umbilical cord with deer sinew and bit the cord to sever it. The placenta was buried and the cord was placed in a buckskin bag and attached to the baby's cradleboard. Complicated births were attended by a midwife.
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Salishan Language Family
Spokane Tribe of Indians
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