Page:Folk-lore - A Quarterly Review. Volume 17, 1906.djvu/250

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The Secret of the Totem. By Andrew Lang. Longmans, Green & Co. London, 1905. 10/6 net.

The Arunta in some points of their totemic system differ from all other Australians. If, therefore, the secret of totemism is to be discovered, we must first of all know, or rather make up our minds, whether the Arunta, alone of Australians, have retained the original form of totemism, or whether they have departed further from the original form than any other Australians have gone.

The Arunta have male kinship, with Headmen hereditary in the male line. That is to say, when a boy is born among the Arunta, they recognise him as the child of his father, and as inheriting from his father. The Arunta then may be classed with those Australian tribes which recognise male kinship. And male kinship is now taken by most of those competent to judge to have been secondary amongst the Australians, that is to say, to have been preceded by female descent. The reasonable con- clusion then is that which Mr. Lang and Mr. Hartland incline to, namely, "that the Arunta are the most advanced and not the most primitive of the Central Australian tribes."

But though the Arunta recognise male kinship and though they inherit other things {i.e. things other than their totems) in the male line, they do not inherit their totems in the male line — indeed they do not inherit their totems from either father or mother. The question, what totem is to be ascribed to a child, is not answered, among the Arunta, by asking what is the totem of the child's father or mother, but in another way. There is, it is important to note, amongst the Arunta, no doubt and no