Page:Folk-lore - A Quarterly Review. Volume 22, 1911.djvu/454

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41 8 Lord Avebtiry on Marriage,

account of the religious conceptions of savages." This I said in 1900; in 191 1 Lord Avebury seems to be unaware of my explanation of my terms.

He next advances to the theory of attributes of Austra- lian superior beings as borrowed from missionaries. But there is ample evidence, though Mr. Howitt's is enough, to such Jinborrowed aboriginal beliefs as that entertained by the Kurnai, who, when Mr. Howitt met them, had never seen a missionary. Later he met a converted Kurnai, but the man was not invited to, and knew nothing of the intention of the heathen Kurnai to hold, a Jeraeil, or initiation-ceremony. Mr. Howitt offers "the reasons which appear to me to prove conclusively the aboriginal origin of the belief in the All-father as I have given it." The elements in the belief which I deem religions did not filter down to the isolated Kurnai from blacks in contact with Christian influences, and the Kurnai " did not attend the ceremonies of any other tribe. "^^ Lord Avebury never alludes to these facts of Mr. Howitt.

Moreover, says Mr. Howitt, in four tribes, Narrang-ga, Parnkalla, Dieri, and Arunta, "missionaries have long preached in the native tongue." The Narrang-ga and Parnkalla, and Dieri, are either extinct, or modernised. But the Arunta, a tribe whose southern section has energetic missionaries such as Mr. Strehlow, have no trace of an All Father in Mr. Spencer's region, and further south have only the shadow of the name of an All Father, known to the women.

Thus Mr. Howitt ^2 argues that missionaries have not lent to the natives of the South East the higher elements of their belief, while, where the Arunta are in contact with active missionaries preaching in the Arunta language, there is either no All Father, or a shadow of an All Father, held in no reverence.

Mr. Howitt's facts and logic are alike invincible. But

31 Op. cit., pp. 504-5. *2 Op. cii., pp. 504-6.