of totems, and of local divisions, fighting men and medicinemen, and gener
ally speaking of the old men of standing and importance. That is, the men
who after a series of years have passed through the course of ceremony
described in chapter! The younger men look forward for years to the
time when having been present at the Mindari ceremony, they will be per
mitted to appear and ultimately to speak at the council of men.
These meetings were so secret that to reveal what took place
at them was punishable by death.
(Mr. Gason after a long time, and only when he had learned to
speak the Dieri language, was permitted to be present at these councils.) (crossed out)
The proceedings were directed by the principal Headman, and
among the matters which it dealt with were (???) (offences against the tribe and
against tribal morality) (crossed out). When a person had been adjuged guilty of having
caused the death of another by means of magic, he was killed by an
armed party sent out by the Headman (p ). It also punished for infrac
tion of the rules of marriage relating to the classes and relationships.
It also made arrangements for holding the great ceremonies and on ceremonial occasions allotted
the several pairs of pinasuru, as before explained (p ).
Such a meeting was summoned by some old man instructed by the
head Pinaru. If the matter was of importance it was introduced by him, and
in doing so he adhered to the ancient customs of their fathers. If all
are agreed to some copurse the council separates, if not then it meets at
some future time.
Everything relating to this council is kept profoundly secret
from those who have not the right to be present. For over two years Mr.
Gason was not able to obtain permission to be present at it. He sought
permission in the broken english usually spoken to the natives by the
whitemen, he tried intimidation, and he tried the effects of presents,
without avail, and it was only when he had acquired a command of the
Dieri language and a knowledge of their customs that he was permitted
to be present. It was said by them then, that Kuchi (p ) must have
inbstructed him and as he worked on their superstitions by favoring this
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