Page:Native Tribes of South-East Australia.djvu/361

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VI
335
TRIBAL GOVERNMENT

the offenders, telling them to look out for themselves and be prepared for revenge. A messenger was sent in reply saying that they should come with their friends, and that they would be prepared to stand out and have spears thrown at them. There was then a great meeting of the respective totems, the Garchuka being that of the offenders and the Wulernunt that of the avengers.

Having met as arranged, at the time and place fixed, with their respective kindreds, the Garchuka Headman stood out between the opposed totemites and made a speech, calling upon his men not to take any unfair advantage in the encounter. Then he appointed a spot near at hand where the expiatory encounter should take place that afternoon, it being agreed that so soon as the offenders had been struck by a spear the combat should cease. Then the offenders stood out, armed with shields, and received the spears thrown at them by the dead man's kindred, until at length one of them was wounded. The Headman of the Garchukas then threw a lighted piece of bark, which he held, into the air, and the fight ceased. If it had been continued there would have been a general fight between the two totems.

Among the tribes of south-western Victoria, in cases of blood-feud, if the murderer be known and escapes the pursuit of the victim's kindred, he gets notice to appear and undergo the ordeal of spear-throwing at the first great meeting of the tribes.

If he pays no attention to the summons, two strong active men, called Paet-paet, accompanied by some friends, are ordered by the chief to visit the camp where he is supposed to be concealed and to arrest him. They approach the camp about the time when the people are going to sleep, and halt at a short distance from it. One of the Paet-paets goes to one side of the camp and howls in imitation of a wild dog. The other at the opposite side answers him by imitating the cry of the Kuurka (owl). These sounds bring the Chief to the front of his Wuurn (hut) to listen. One of the Paet-paets then taps twice on a tree with his spear, or strikes two spears together as a signal that a friend wishes