Howitt and Fison Papers


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Chapter sec.

The study of the evidence, which has been detailed in thelast section, led Dr Fison and me to the conclusion that the [early?]state of society among the Australian aborigines was that of an"undivided commune". Taking this as a postulate I now commencethe consideration of the general subject, of the influence on marriage and descent and the class divisions on the assumption that there was once an undivided commune.It is however necessary to guard this expression. I do not desireto be understood as maintaining that it implies necessarily the[....ance] of complete communism between the sexes. The character of thecountry, the necessity of moving from one spot to another insearch of game and of vegetable food, would cause any undividedcommune, when it assumed dimensions, greater than the country wan-dered over could [..... ........] to break up into two or more communes of the same character. In addition to this it has become clear to me, after along acquaintance with the Australian savage, that in the past as now,individual likes and dislikes, must have existed so thatadmitting that there were common rights, between the members ofthe commune, these rights would not be exercised, or would remainin abeyance, so far as the separated parts of the commune was concerned but at certain gatherings such as the

Last edit 5 months ago by ALourie

hw0155 Draft letter Howitt to Bucknell



F. N. Bucknell - Burrende-on NSWI have read with much interest your valuable notes of "MarriageRites + Relationships" in the Kamilaroi tribe. [I have - crossed out] which Iassume has been elicited by my memorandum on [last issue of - crossed out]"Science". I think that some years ago I received some interestingparticulars as to native custom from you through [the - crossed out] Dr J Frazer;which I have embodied in my book with due acknowledgement.I trust that you will permit me to make some remarks on yourpaper and that you will kindly reply to the queries which havesuggested themselves in its perusal.

(1) In "Second Paragraph [??] 29" under no condition can relatives marry +c"In the third paragraph you note that Kubbi-mooli may marryKubbullia-Dooli. Now so far as I know from other tribes a Kubbi of the samelevel in a generation would address a Kubbillia of the same level as"Sister" [that is "class-sister" - crossed out] In my work I have distinguished between"own relatives" and "tribal relatives" - thus the children of two brothersor two sisters are "own" brothers and sisters" - because their respective fathers [or mothers - crossed out] in the one case + mothers in the other caseare their ["group fa- crossed out] father collectively; while the Kubis and Kubbullias I havespoken of above would be "tribal brother + sisters". Now on this viewKubbi-mooti in marrying Kubbillia-dooli would be marryinghis "tribal" (or class sister) - This question was answered by Dr Fison + me[??] referred to as "Halfsister marriage" in our work Kamilaroi + Kurnai in1880. Kindly consider this.

(2) Third paragraph - I have noted the totem names given by you andgive below a table showing the classes, subclasses, and totems. I mayexplain that Ipai and Kumbo are the subdivision of [??] Kupallunand Muri + Kubbi of another called Dilbi. These occur in North NSW+ South Queensland. They represent the two intermarrying moieties of the tribes as I do not know whether they still exist in the Kamilaroi tribeyou write of. I have called them A and B

[table]classes subslasses totemMoiety A Ipai Dinewan-EmuBilba - BandicootNoori - Black snake +Kumbo Dinewan - EmuNoori - Black snake +Moeity B Mury Dooli - IguanaNoori - Black snake +Murri-ara - PademelonKubbi Dooli - iguanaMirruarra - PademelonMooti - opossum

(3) Line 22 of middle column from [?Melbourne?]. I do not quite follow this passage.[Do you mean to say th- crossed out] Do the words "either in his fathers or mothers side" refer toall the relationships mentioned, or only to first cousin?

[written in left side margin]I see that you include Noori in both moieties. [Is - crossed out] Are these for instance Murri-Noori men + women?Are these not Kumbo-Bilbas - for the children of Ipatha- Bilba should be Kumbo + [?Bull?] Bilba.Similarly are these not Murri + Marha Mooti?I trust that you will not find it too troublesome to reply to my queries. I am now completing my book andthe Kamilaroi marriage rules are so important that I am desirous of working them out completely. I can only do soby the aid of those who [sic] knowledge of the subject - and when opportunities for further enquiry [??] [??] then to assist me in doing so.All the aid you can give will be duly acknowledged.

[written at top of page]posted10/6/02

Last edit 2 months ago by ALourie
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