Howitt and Fison Papers


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XM267_ICDMS_lowres J C Muirhead to Howitt 30 March 1900



Daintree StreetClermontMarch 30th 1900

A. W. Howitt EsqEast MalvernVictoria

Dear SirI am in answer to yourof the 20th MarchWith respect to the puzzle arising in MrCraig's Wiagrain, it seems to me thatMr Craig has got the primary + subclasses mixed. Wootheroo or Woothooroobeing the primary class of Wongo+ Obu. The mistake could arise thisway- if Mr Craig asked a Blackwhat class "that one" meaning a thirdperson, if a male (Wongo) the replywould come Wootheroo - if a womanthe speaker would reply, Wootheroocanmeaning the primary class - for Blacksin hailing a stranger call for hisprimary class. Having ascertainedthat the [sic] ask for his totem + thenthey could almost instantly tell the subclass.Then again at times you will meetin tribes a man Mallera (primary)class, yet Emu totem. I couldnever get to the right explanationof how he could be Mallera +have the Emu (Woothera) totem.The Blacks alway [sic] answered if youcome to our (Umbah) Boraceremony, then we will explain.

Last edit 3 days ago by ALourie


But one can not tell them thereforethere may be some thing in Mr Craig'spoints. But I am almost surehe has mixed the sub + primaryclasses. I am sorry that I do notknow any person in CardwellI will however, endeavourto try and find some one thereto answer your questionsand make further enquiries.I will endeavour to fill your paper-at present I am pretty muchoccupied. But I shall always be happy as far as in me liesto help you in your work on Aboriginals. It is now many, many yearssince my duties have been nearwhere the tribes of Blacks are - besidesafter I grew to manhood, I did not converse or take much interest in Aboriginals. I know whata dificult task it is to get truefact [sic] from Aboriginals unless youknow them well + they have confidencein you.With good wishesI remain yoursRespectfullyJ. C. Muirhead

Last edit 5 months ago by ALourie
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