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13
used by the tribes of the Eastern half of Australia, point to this
conclusion. The same argument may be reasonably extended to the
whole of the continent.

The question then suggests itself, what may have been the origin
of the pirrauru marriage of the Dieri? We find a starting point, in
this inquiry, in the two exogamous classes, whose action prevents
the marriage of brother and sister. The next step onwards is their
division into four sub-classes, thereby possibly preventing the
marriage of parent with child, followed, in the northern central tribes, by a
further division into eight sub-classes.

It is an accepted fact, that the numerous restrictions of
marriage, in the Australian tribes, have been intentionally made, to
prevent the union of those who are, considered to be, "too near
flesh". I must point out here that there is no evidence whatever
that the Australian tribes have any knowledge of any injurious effect
produced by interbreeding.

If we reverse the method, and trace back the successive changes
we shall find that the division into eight sub-classes is still proce
-ding [sic] in the southern Arunta. There are apparently only four sub
classes, Panunga, Bulthara, Purula, and Kumara, but further inquiry
reveals the fact that, for instance, a Panunga man is not allowed to
marry any and every Purulawoman. The latter are all divided into
two groups, the members of one of whom he may marry, whereas the
others are strictly forbidden to him (1). The divisions are there, but
have not yet [become - crossed out] received names.

We may concieve [that - crossed out] the original segmentation to have been
brought about, not by revolutionary, but evolutionary means, within
the Undivided Commune.

I picture the two segements as having group-marriage, controlled
by a prohibition of brother anh [sic] sister marriage, and the unsegmented
whole with group-marriage, including that of brother and sister.

Looking backwards into the unknown depths of time, far
beyond the conditions just postualted, we may suspect a period
of general promiscuity between the sexes, and not that "sanctity of
individual marriage", which if I am not in error, is Mr Lang’s theory.

(1). Messrs Spencer and Gillen. The Northern Tribes. p97.

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