Bumblebee discusses this importance of understanding contextual meaning of Indian words. I cite a Choctaw example of "imosini", a bumblebee, and "imoksini" which is a clitoris. Clearly those words are directly related. We Choctaw describe what a clitoris does in terms of a bumblebee's behaviors. There is a need to fully understand our native tongues to make sense of context.
For this reason, language, Christian missionary accounts of Indian sexuality are almost always mistaken, wrong and often intentionally deceptive to cast our peoples as immoral fornicating savages. Reality is our native sexuality and morality are infinitely superior to those of standard issue white Christians.
Kokopelli and Sexy Petroglyphs tell a story of this sacred nature of menses, sexuality and sex. We Indians celebrate sexuality and sex through ceremony and ritual. Indian women are deeply respected because we are "life givers".
Toothpaste, I discuss how our daughter learns about sexuality and sex by discussion, observation, example and direct hands-on experiences. This is common to many traditional tribes. I also discuss a Pawnee tradition of assigning a postpubescent boy to be a temporary husband to an elder woman teacher who offers lessons in being a good husband and how to engage in sex by direct sex experiences.
Ménage à Trois is an introduction to polygamy which is my topic for this essay.
Polygamy is marriage to multiple spouses. There are two subsets, polygyny, one husband and multiple wives. Other is polyandry which is one wife and multiple husbands. Worldwide, polygyny is somewhat more popular amongst many cultures.
Today a practice of polygamy remains common to many tribes but not a majority. Usually these marriages are hush-hush private to prevent white Christians from becoming enraged then interfering with our traditions.
During the four-hundred year long American Indian genocide, Christian missionaries use dirty tricks, tell lies and threaten violence to squash Indian polygamous marriages. This is common for Christians to butcher and slaughter entire tribes who refuse to stop their tradition of polygamy. Today we Indians go about our traditions quietly.
Moving back in history, polygamy becomes increasingly popular amongst tribes. Centuries back, three-hundred, four-hundred years, polygamy is the rule and monogamy, one wife and one husband, is a rare exception to the rule.
Polygamy proves highly beneficial in surviving life in the wild. This is teamwork living.
Our tribes finely tune polygamy for best advantage and benefit for all tribal members. Polygyny, multiple wives, becomes "sororal polygyny" which is a husband marrying sisters of his wife. Peter McDonald, former tribal chairman of the Navajo, explains,
"A man would marry a woman, then work hard for his family. If she had a sister who was not married, and if the man proved to be caring, a good provider, and a good husband, he would be gifted with his wife's sister, marrying her as well."
There are endless historical examples of a husband marrying all of his wife's sisters. This is not forced upon his first wife nor others. This is by invitation and by choice. A wife will invite her husband to marry her sisters.
Previously I discuss Indian marriage is purely a business contract between a husband, his wife and her mother's bloodline family. Everything, including kids, belong to his wife and her mother's clan. Marrying sisters keeps all in ownership of their mother's bloodline - clean, neat and orderly.
When a wife dies, a man will marry one or more of her sisters to maintain family line. This is called "sororate" - marrying a deceased wife's sister.
An Indian wife can enjoy polyandry which is multiple husbands. This is quite common for many cultures. Keep in mind, all of this is freewill choice.
A wife becomes a widow, death of her husband. She will marry a brother of her passed husband. This is "levirate". Again, this protects a mother and her children; a husband to help with family and life.
When a wife marries a man and his brother, this is "fraternal polyandry". She might choose to marry one brother or all of his brothers. This is her choice.
Polygyny and polyandry exhibit almost endless variations on combinations.
This is important to know polygamy amongst our tribes has nothing to do with sex nor with love. These many varied marriage combinations are purely of an economic nature. Marriage is an agreement two or more people will work together to benefit their family.
Often multiple spouses links two clans together which is more in the realm of political power. Father of Pocahontas, Wahunsonacock, enjoys up to a hundred wives and hundreds of children. Those marriages and children link together numerous tribes allowing for Wahunsonacock to create and build the powerful Powhatan Confederacy.
Indian polygamy is strictly business. You readers are encouraged to research and read about American Indian marriages. You will learn much and be quite surprised.