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The East Indian Diaspora in Costa Rica: Inbreeding Avoidance, Marriage Patterns, and Cultural Survival
L. Madrigal, B. Ware, E. Hagen, M. Blell and F. Otarola
New Series, Vol. 109, No. 2, In Focus: Children, Childhoods, and Childhood Studies (Jun., 2007), pp. 330-337
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/4496646
Page Count: 8
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Anthropologists have long been interested in the survival of Indian cultural traits in the New World. In this article, we present results of an ongoing project with a Costa Rican community that descends from East Indian indentured servants. We focus on the group's marriage patterns and how these patterns might have helped keep the community as a cohesive ethnic group. We investigate the group's level of inbreeding by computing the inbreeding coefficient using two different methods. We show that the community has been successful at keeping its inbreeding low, despite its small size, by allowing marriage with nonmembers of the community. We propose that unless consanguineous marriages are allowed virtually all of the community's marriages will be with noncommunity members. Absorption into tourism, as well as the community's staunch avoidance of consanguineous marriages and virtually universal marriage with noncommunity members, will likely contribute to their disappearance as a viable ethnic group.
American Anthropologist © 2007 American Anthropological Association