Page:Native Tribes of South-East Australia.djvu/196

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170
CH.
NATIVE TRIBES OF SOUTH-EAST AUSTRALIA

Terms 1 to 5 are inclusive; that is, the grand-ancestral terms are reciprocal. They conform to the Dieri terms, with the exception that a distinction is drawn between the paternal grandfather and the paternal grandfather's sister. Terms 6 and 7 indicate the former existence in the Kurnai tribe of group-marriage, and also the exchange of sisters for wives, which still existed among them, but under the controlling influence of marriage by elopement.

The fraternal terms, 10, 11, 12, 13, are far wider than those of the Dieri, and appear to point to a time prior to the making of those restrictions, which necessitated the use of terms to distinguish between a man's own children and those of his sister, or between a woman's children and those of her brother. It may be thought that an incipient change in this direction is shown by the fact that the woman uses the term Bengun for the child of her brother, while he uses the term both for his child and for hers.

The marital terms 14 and 16 indicate a former condition of group-marriage; but the marital relations implied by the term were with the Kurnai merely nominal, excepting on the very rare occasions when the Aurora Australis was seen. This was thought by them to be a sign of Mungan's anger, and the old men ordered an exchange of wives for the time, thus reverting to the ancient practice of group-marriage.

It is to be noted that while the "husband's sister" is included in the group of Maian when addressed by her sister-in-law (brother's wife), the brother of the wife is distinguished from the group-husband (Bra) by a distinct term.

There is nothing to remark as to the terms 19 and 20.

The Kurnai terms of relationship seem to bear traces of a time before the institution of some of the earlier restrictions on marriage, and if such be the case, then they must date back to the time of the Undivided Commune. This, however, has always appeared to me to be a very difficult position to maintain. I am unable to quite satisfy myself whether this system is one of an archaic character, retained through extreme isolation of the Kurnai, or that the terms, such as those equivalent to the Dieri Kami, have been lost. If it