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Mr Andrew Lang remarks at p. 55 of The Secret of the Totem, "If
pirrauru were primitive, it might be looked for among these southern and
eastern tribes .....but in these primitive South-east tribes pirrauru is
no more found than subincision....".
I do not understand what Mr Lang means by "primitive tribes",
because those of the south-east who have not got pirrauru, are, according
to my classification, advanced, in so far that they have individual marriage.
I now propose to show what I take to be good reasons, for the belief
that those tribes did at one time have a marriage of the type of the
pirrauru of the Dieri, and if so, it is an answer to Mr Lang's
The noa relationship is the starting point of my explanations and to
make them as clear as possible to my readers, I shall, in the first place,
enumerate the several ways in which the potential claim of a Dieri man
to one or more of his noas, is given effect to.
This may be by;
(a) Betrothal, (Native Tribes of South-East Australia.p.p.177-8).
(b) gift of the woman (p.p. 178-9)
c/. (c) the kandri ceremony (p.p. 181-2); the performance of which may be in
(d) an agreement between two brothers to become the pirraurus of their
respective wives. In such a case they commonly lived together in a
group marriage of four (p. 181).
(e) consent of the husband (p. 181).
(f) a man receiving the wife of his deceased brother (p. 181).
(g) allocation by the elders (p. 182).
Under all these new marital conditions, the man and the woman
remain noa to each other.
I have always found a difficulty in explaining the system of Dieri
pirraurus marriage, to those who have no actual knowledge of the conditions.
In my earlier works I endeavoured to meet it by speaking of the [??] under
(a) and (b) as noa marriages, but I abandoned this, because it was rather
indefinate [sic], in so far that all the unions are noa marriages. In
my Native Tribes of South-East Australia
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This is the manuscript for Howitt's article Australian Group Relationships for the Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute, published in 1907. The published article included the 5 tables at the end .
The Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute of Great Britain and Ireland
Vol. 37 (Jul. - Dec., 1907), pp. 279-289 (11 pages)