The man who captured a woman in war never kept
her himself, but he had the right of giving her to
whomsoever he chose. It was however necessary that
he should first [crossed out - bring] take her before a council of
elders and the head man of the tribe, as it were for
inspection. This ceremony is highly suggestive of
adoption. If the wife was unfaithful to her husband
he gave her a severe beating the first time. If she
repeated the offence he left her altogether. This was
the severest penalty inflicted, as thusly she incurred
the scorn and dislike of the whole tribe with the exception
perhaps of those who were as bad as herself.
A man was not however restricted to one wife
- he might have half a dozen if he could get them.
Not only was fidelity expected from the wife
but those were considered very bad men who lent
their wives to others. When such a case occurred
it always occasioned a fight between the better
thinking of the tribe and the offender.
The office of head man in the tribe was hereditary.
When he died he was succeeded by his son or failing
a son by the next male relative. This was the law
of the tribe before any whites came into the country.
The headman had the power of proclaiming war
and when he did this all the men of the tribe
were obliged to follow him. He settled all quarrels
and disputes in the tribe. When he had heard
both sides and had given his [?decision?] in a
matter no one ever disputed it.
[in side margin]
In some tribes unusual
license occurred at
times: for instance in
the Turra Tribe of S. A.
When two great class
divisions Eaglehawk -
and Seal - met in
festive occasions the
older men of one class
took the young wives of
the other class and the
men of each class generally
exchanged wives for the
occasion. Was there
anything like this
in the Gournditch man?
There was no such
among the Gournditch
mara on any
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