Page:Folk-lore - A Quarterly Review. Volume 17, 1906.djvu/316

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302 Dr. Howitt's Defence of Group- Marriage.

the latter charge is erroneous. With far more truth Mr, Lang can retort that Dr. Howitt has overlooked the fact that although motherhood cannot be a group-relationship, the Australian often has no individual term which he applies to his own mother. It is conceivable that none of the group-terms on which Dr. Howitt lays such stress bears the meaning he puts upon them ; in the case of "mother" it is inconceivable that his interpretation should be right. If, therefore, anyone has overlooked the important point of individual terms and relationships, it is Dr. Howitt, not Mr. Lang. On p. 184 Dr. Howitt asserts " that the aboriginal terms (of relationship) include relationships as understood by us, and at the same time include persons who under the universal conditions of the Australian tribes are considered, for instance, to be ' fathers ' or ' sons,' etc., as the case may be."

So far as I know it has never been denied that the aboriginal terms include relationships as understood by us ; Mr. Lang has certainly never denied it. What he has done is to deny that the aboriginal terms can properly be translated by our terms. In reply to this Dr. Howitt asserts that all persons embraced under the term which includes our " father," are by the Australians regarded as fathers. Let us examine this statement in detail.

Fatherhood in our sense is a consanguineous relation ; it expresses a physiological fact. Does Dr. Howitt assert that the Australian tribes mean this when they speak of a "father"? If so, what explanation does he offer of the Arunta denial of fatherhood in our sense . So far as I can see, the Arunta deny that anyone is a father in our sense. If so, in what sense can Dr. Howitt assert that they regard all men of a certain tribal status as fathers of a given child ?

If Dr. Howitt asserts physiological fatherhood to be the underlying idea, does he assert the same of the term which includes " mother " in our sense t If he does, it is