and his wife's mother. I know of no rule which is more implicitely obeyed
The belief is that some result of a magical nature wil follow a
breach of this rule, for instance that the persons hair will become
prematurely grey. The nearest approach to a personal punishment for
this offence which I have found was in the Coast Murring tribe, where
any personal contact even the accidental touching of one by the
other was punished by the man [xxxxxxxxxx] being compelled to
leave the district, and his wife returning to her parents. (p ).

This rule of avoidance wuld properly come within the state-
ment made by Mr. E. M. Curr in his work The Australian race. (i), where
he says "The power which enforces custom in our tribes is for the
most part an impersonal one". This "impersonal" authority must have
been either public opinion or a supernatural sanction. According
to Mr. Curr it is "education", that is to say a blackfellow is educa-
ted from infancy in the belief that a departure from the customs of his
tribe is invariably followed by one at least, of many possible
evils, such as becoming prematurely grey, being afflicted with
opthalmia, skin erruptions or sickness, but above all that it expo
ses the offender to the danger of death from sorcery (pp 2). This is
undoubtedly true as to such a case as that of the mother-in-law,
or as to a breach of the rule that a novice must not receive food
from the hand of a woman (Kurnai) or speak in thepresence of one
without covering his mouth with the corner of his skin rug, or blanket
(Coast Murring), but it does not account for the corporal punishments
inflicted for other offences.

I shall detail these cases at length further on, but for the
moment (as an instance) refer to the Pinya of the Dieri tribe, which kills a man who
is held by the old men of the tribe to have brought about the death
of some one by evil magic. (p ). Other instances will be stated in
their place later on in the chapter, (crossed out)
Such offences as those are therefore punished by the (xxxxxxxx)
actual authority of persons in the tribe and not merely by "public
opinion." or the effect of education, and it (...)
must be some executive powr by which such offences as
these are dealt withand punished.
I (will in this chapter)(crossed out) shall now show what this executive power is and how it acts in an Australian tribe.

Notes and Questions

Nobody has written a note for this page yet

Please sign in to write a note for this page