Page:Folk-lore - A Quarterly Review. Volume 26, 1915.djvu/435

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Revieivs. 421

generally, it will provide an invaluable instrument for the investi- gation of the history of savage society.

The tribes discussed in this volume belong to diverse stocks, and their organization is by no means always the same. The importance of observing this is shown by the different meanings attached to the word cla7i^ according as it is used of one tribe or another. Among the Votyak a clan comprises from ten to thirty villages ; but they are all united by their descent from a common founder-protector and by a common cult — the cult, as I under- stand, of the common ancestor. Clan-organization among the Chukchi is decadent. Formerly a collection of from ten to fifteen families, living always together, dividing among themselves various occupations, and keeping themselves continually in readi- ness for war ; to-day the organization is much looser. A group of kindred families is called varai—a. collection of those who are together — or, as it is also called, a collection of those who take part in blood-revenge. It is unstable ; and the number of families "that are together" changes almost every year. The Chukchi clan is in strong contrast to the Gilyak clan, with whom " the clan forms a society or union, cemented by common rights and marital duties of men related through their fathers, taking their wives from another similar group and giving their women in marriage," not to the group from which their own wives are taken, but to a third group or clan, all clans being thus exogamic and patriarchal in organization. Moreover, they have a common fire : not one hearth, but a right to take fire from one another's hearths, which is forbidden to non-clansmen. Their objects of worship — that is to say, the dead of the clan — are in common. They have a common duty to feed the bear which is caught and kept for the bear-festival, and to take part in the festival when it is killed. The bear-festival is the occasion for the reunion of the clan, how- ever widely separated some of the members may be. It is thus a clan-feature of cardinal interest. The clansmen have also common responsibility in respect to the blood-feud, and a common right to share the payment made for compensation. Lastly, they have "common sin," that is, they are all subject to certain taboos or prohibitions, and other religious or social laws, the breach of which is a sin for that particular clan.