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BOAS] SOCIAL ORGANIZATION OF THE KWAKIUTL 121
will abide by the wish of the deceased. If, however, selection can in no way be justified by the laws of descent, the numaym may not permit the proposed transfer.
In those cases in wnich the disgrace of illegitimate descent, i.e., descent from a couple who did not go through all the formalities of a marriage, attaches to the proposed successor, he may not be ad- mitted to the positions bequeathed to him. The effect of such a disgrace is illustrated by the following example. A man, who belonged to the numaym mentioned before, which is considered as descended from slaves who were not married according to the customary form, was considered as of lower rank because he belonged to this numaym. Furthermore, his parents were not properly married and he himself lived with a woman of high rank without performing the proper marriage ceremonies. He became very wealthy and inherited a number of high positions. The numayms, however, will not allow his children to take his place. His name is to die and the children will be assigned to positions in the mother's numaym. Although they will assume high positions, their descent will always be felt as a blemish. I presume in early times, when other individuals of pure descent were available, they would not have been permitted to occupy these positions.
The wish of the dying person may also be vetoed by a member of his family who has a nearer right to succession than the desig- nated successor.
According to the ideas of the Indians, the two categories of names and privileges, those in the line of primo geniture and those that may be transferred by marriage, are quite distinct. Never- theless, the law of preventing the transfer of the inalienable family names and privileges to another family is broken every now and then, in accordance with the wish of the holder of the place expressed on his death-bed. I do not doubt that in early times, when the claims of the individual could be maintained by force, a usurped position could be held, provided the holder had sufficient strength to withstand his rivals and enemies. The law may also be broken when a tribe or numaym demands that one of the descendants of a chief be made his successor.