Page:Folk-lore - A Quarterly Review. Volume 17, 1906.djvu/195

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183
Native Tribes of South-East Australia.

Now, in this tribe there is individual marriage as between 2 and 3 only, but the marital terms extend to the brothers own and tribal of 2 on the one side and to the sisters of 3 on the other. So that there is also the relationship of bra and maian between 2 and 5 and of maian and bra between 3 and 6. These relationships when compared with the analogous relation in the Dieri or Urabunna tribes are very significant. In all the tribes in question they are group relationships, but, while in the Dieri tribes they are actual facts, as regards pirrauru-marriage, they are in the Kurnai tribe mere survivals in the terminology of relationships. The same remarks apply to all the other tribes commencing with the Arunta and comparing their terms with those of the Dieri and Urabunna.

The mantle of the late Mr. J. F. M'Lennan appears to have fallen upon Mr. Lang, but with some change of position. He does not use the old argument that the terms applied, for instance by the Dieri and Kurnai, to define relationships, are merely addresses to avoid mentioning the personal name, but says:

"Whatever the original sense of the names, they all now denote seniority and customary legal status in the tribes, with the reciprocal duties, rights, and avoidances. The friends of group and communal marriage keep unconsciously forgetting, at this point of their argument, that our (that is Mr. Lang's) ideas of sister, brother, father, mother and so on have nothing to do (as they tell us at certain other points of their argument) with the native terms, which include, but do not denote their relationships as understood by us, etc." (Secret of the Totem, p. 43).

The fact is that in dealing with the native view of relationship, and speaking both for Messrs. Spencer and Gillen and myself, we simply use English terms, as it would be hopeless to explain their significance otherwise.