Page:Folk-lore - A Quarterly Review. Volume 22, 1911.djvu/523

From Wikisource
Jump to navigation Jump to search
This page needs to be proofread.


Correspondence. 487

among the Arunta is not in full force, but manifestly in decay ; and one of the symptoms of its decay is the relaxation or annihi- lation of the old bond of blood." Now, apart from the vexed question of the position of the Arunta tribe among the Australian peoples, — and I agree with Dr. Frazer's view, not with Mr. Hartland's, — is it true to say that " the relaxation or annihilation of the old bond of blood " is a sign of the decay of totemism ? First let us strike out the qualification of "old" as applied to the bond of blood. Why does Mr. Hartland use it ? It is against the evidence. The Australians have no term to express the relationship between mother and child (Frazer, Athenceum, Sept. 4, 1909; Thomas, Kinship and Marriage in Australia, p. 124; Spencer and Gillen, The Native Tribes of Cetitral Australia, p. 36 ;/.), and the most primitive of existing totem beliefs are to be found among kinless groups. Indeed, my study of the problems of totemism led me to the conclusion three years ago that totemistic society was kinless in its earliest stage, and was itself replaced, and only gradually replaced, by kinship society. Nothing has since disturbed this conclusion in my own mind. Indeed further research has confirmed it, as the Ms. notes to my Folklore as an Historical Science show.

Apart, however, from my conclusions, I would ask Mr. Hart- land what proof he has for so connecting totem-formed groups with kinship-formed groups as to make them necessarily one and the same thing? He has himself taught us that fatherhood is largely unrecognized, and it is the fact that motherhood, physically recognized as it must be always, is not politically used among the rudest people, — that is to say, there are many peoples who are not kept together socially by the ties of motherhood, even though physical motherhood is well known. In these cases we must look, not for natural facts known to science, but for the conscious use which savage man has made of natural facts in the building up of his social progress. Kinship is certainly not one of his earliest conscious efforts at social formation.

The qualification of " old " bond of blood is therefore, to my thinking, unproven at present, and wants proving before it can be used in Mr. Hartland's sense and with Mr. Hartland's evident conclusion rea;ardina; its connection with totemism.