Howitt and Fison Papers

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XM235_ICDMS_lowres Typed notes in response to Andrew Lang

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Mr Lang remarks at page 55 of his Secret of the Totem ,"If Pirra--uru were primitive, it might be looked for among these southernand eastern tribes ....But in these primitive South-east tribes pirra-uru is no more found than subincision, nor is it found among theArunta and the northern tribes."

I do not understand what Mr Lang means when he speaks of "primi--tive tribes", but assume that he refers to the tribesof South East Australia who have advanced from group marriage toindividual marriage, and among whom, certainly, pirrauru is not found.

But I think than I can show good reasons for the belief thatall the tribes of South East Australia did at one time practise it.

In the accompanying tables are the marital, parental, filial and fraternal terms of relationship, used by the tribes of which the Dieriis the type. I also give those used by some of the tribes of SouthEast Australia ,where there is only individual marriage, and these I thinkwill serve as examples of the others.

To assist the reader in following the comparison which I shallmake between the terms of relationship of the tribes herein referredto, I give a few leading facts as to each tribe.

The Dieri inhabit that part of the delta of the Cooper whichextends from the east side of Lake Eyre, and mainly south of that riverfor some hundred and fifty miles. It has a two class system with totemsgroup marriage and descent in the female line.

The Kurnandaburi inhabited country on the Barcoo river aboutone hundred miles from the eastern boundary of South Australia, andhad group-marriage , the equivalent of the Dieri tippa-malku , and descent in the female line,

The Wathi-Wathi were on the Murray river and belonged to anaggregate of several nations whose north western tribes are theneighbours of the Dieri and Yantruwunta. These nations have a two-class system with totems, individual marriage and descent in thefemale line.

The northern Kamilaroi are part of a nation which is organisedin two classes, four sub-classes and totems, individual marriageand descent in the female line.

The Kuinmurbura tribe occupied country near Broad Sound in Queensland. It had two classes, four sub-classes and totems, indi-

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[top of page seems to have been cut off]But I think that I can show good [rest of line missing]all the tribes of South East Australia did at one time practise it.

In the accompanying tables are the marital, parental, filial andfraternal terms of relationship, used by the tribes of which the Dieriis the type. I also give the those used by some of the tribes of SouthEast Australia, where there is only individual marriage, and these I thinkwill serve as examples of the others.

To assist the reader in following the comparison which I shallmake between the terms of relationship of the tribes herein referredto, I give a few leading facts as to each tribe.

The Dieri inhabit that part of the delta of the Cooper whichextends from the east side of Lake Eyre, and mainly south of that riverfor some hundred and fifty miles. It has a two class system with totemsgroup marriage and descent in the female line.

The Kurnandaburi inhabited country on the Barcoo River aboutone hundred miles from the eastern boundary of South Australia, andhad group-marriage, the equivalent of the Dieri tippa-malku , and descent in the female line,

The Wathi Wathi were on the Murray river and belonged to anaggregate of several nations whose north western tribes are theneighbours of the Dieri and Yantruwunta. These nations hava a two-class system with totems ,individual marriage and descent in thefemale line.

The northern Kamilaroi are part of a nation which is organizedin two classes, four sub-classes and totems, individual marriageand descent in the female line.

The Kuinmurbura tribe occupied country near Broad Sound inQueensland. It had two classes, four sub-classes and totems, indi--vidual marriage and descent in the female line.

The Wurunjeri were one of several tribes in southern central Victoria,with two classes and one totem. It was also organized on localitywith descent in the male line.

The Kaiabara tribe was at the Bunya-Bunya mountains in Queens-land and represented a large number of tribes, extending from thecoast inland for some hundred miles square. The organization was intwo classes divided into four subclasses with totems. There wasindividual marriage with male descent.

TheArunta are the immediate neighbours of the north of theUrabunna, and have four subclasses in the southern and eight in thenorthern part of the tribe. There are totems which do not regulatemarriage and descent in the male line.

The Binbinga tribe has eight sub-classes, with individualmarriage and descent in the male line.

The Narrinyeri tribe are situated on the coast at the mouthof the Murray river .The tribe has no class names, but has exogamoustotems and is organised in local clans. There is individual marriagewith descent in the male line.

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XM237_ICDMS_lowres A W Howitt Australian Group Relationships (paper)

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The handing over of a woman and the exercise of the formermarital rights, is what I have spoken of as the jus primae nootis [3 words underlined]and which Mr Lang disputes.

In the Kurnai tribe it is the fraternal group who exercise theright, that is, those who are the own or tribal brothers of the futurehusband, and belonging to his locality, any one of whom might haveeloped with the woman, if she had consented to accept him as her bra.The fraternal group having exercised the right has thereafter no furtherclaim over the woman who becomes the individual maian of the man sheeloped with.

This is not a solitary instance of the practice, and the Kuinmurburaare a good example. In that tribe it was the men who were inthe relation of durki to the woman who had access to her, and the relation of durki is the equivalent of noa.

This tribe has advanced to about the same point of social develop--ment as the Kamiliaroi, having individual marriage and an analogousclass organisation, yet it seems as if, in this pracitice, the old inborn right of the noa had been revived.

If we go further back, in the line of advance to the Kurnanda-buri, who have group marriage, as well as the equivalent of the Dieritippa-malku the same facts meet us. It is the fraternal group of menwho exercise a temporary right over the woman, all being abaija toher, which is, on the one side the equivalent of the dieri noa and on the other of the Kuinmurbura durki.

I think we may see in these cases a change in the direction ofindividual marriage in the Kurnandaburi, and a survival of ancientcustom in the Kuinmurbura and the Kurnai.

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