Mr Lang remarks at page 55 of his Secret of the Totem ,"If Pirra
-uru were primitive, it might be looked for among these southern
and eastern tribes ....But in these primitive South-east tribes pirra
uru is no more found than subincision, nor is it found among the
Arunta 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 tribes
of South East Australia who have advanced from group marriage to
individual marriage, and among whom, certainly, pirrauru is not found.
But I think than I can show good reasons for the belief that
all 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 Dieri
is the type. I also give those used by some of the tribes of South
East Australia ,where there is only individual marriage, and these I think
will serve as examples of the others.
To assist the reader in following the comparison which I shall
make between the terms of relationship of the tribes herein referred
to, I give a few leading facts as to each tribe.
The Dieri inhabit that part of the delta of the Cooper which
extends from the east side of Lake Eyre, and mainly south of that river
for some hundred and fifty miles. It has a two class system with totems
group marriage and descent in the female line.
The Kurnandaburi inhabited country on the Barcoo river about
one hundred miles from the eastern boundary of South Australia, and
had 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 an
aggregate of several nations whose north western tribes are the
neighbours of the Dieri and Yantruwunta. These nations have a two
class system with totems, individual marriage and descent in the
The northern Kamilaroi are part of a nation which is organised
in two classes, four sub-classes and totems, individual marriage
and descent in the female line.
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