Page:Folk-lore - A Quarterly Review. Volume 17, 1906.djvu/197

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185
Native Tribes of South- East Australia.

only the vestigiary relationships, indicating the former conditions of marriage.

Mr. Lang's position really bears out what I have said, that most white men, like himself, brought up in our views of individual marriage and descent, seem quite unable to place themselves mentally in the position of these aborigines who use the classificatory system of relationships.

This is one of the unfortunate circumstances which attend the studies of those who, to use Mr. Lang's own words, are "ethnologists of the study," and who are not willing, like some others, to take the opinion of men who have first-hand knowledge of the natives.

Mr. Lang's explanations of the origin and meaning of the Australian terms of relationship are merely guesses, without the support of any direct evidence, and do not, I think, require any further notice here.

Diagram I. shows the relationships between certain Matteri men and certain Kararu women, who are necessarily in the noa or nupa relations to each other.

Marriage between them as pirrauru or piraungaru is group-marriage and is defined by the terms of relationship. Such being the case these must have originated when group-marriage existed. How long ago that was no one can tell and I do not care to "guess."

But this much may, I think, be safely assumed, that when all the tribes who now have individual marriage only, used those terms which imply group-marriage, it must have been a living fact, which required a terminology which has survived, while that which it defined has died out.

Such are some of the reasons which have justified me in saying that, starting for instance with the Dieri, a series of progressive tribes may be indicated, ending for instance with the Kurnai, the Yuin or the Chepara.

This series then shows an advance from group-marriage