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Lochaber
Bourke
Dec 26th 03

My dear Mr Howitt

Yours of the 15th is to hand. My experience
is that among the Wonghibone tribe which I
regard as a branch of the Wiradhurie a man
would not kill or eat his totem. I cannot
say what he would do under great pressure from
hunger but the general law was that they would
not eat it. As you know there were
[instructions?] in many tribes with regard to what
might be eaten at certain ages but I remember years
ago being out with "two?" lads of the Unghi tribe
in Western Queensland. We were some time without
food where we killed a carpet snake which was
interdicted to young men. At first they would
not hear of eating it, but after seeing it cooked
and being eaten by myself they partook of some
after obtaining my promise that I would not
tell anyone. So that possibly a man would
eat his totem under similar circumstances.

I am glad to hear that you have
brought your work so near completion and
trust you will be able to get some information
from the Aborigines Protection Board though
am afraid that the Board is not a very
reliable source inasmuch that they
dont seem to travel [?] themselves much

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