Page:The aborigines of Australia.djvu/61

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CHAPTER VI


CEREMONY OF INITIATION — HALF-CASTE CHILDREN
— BELIEF IN SPIRITS — A NEW SPECIES OF FOOD —
CORROBOREE — THE "KRADGA KIBBA."

One of the most important ceremonies among the aborigines is the installation of a young man among the warriors of the tribe. The ceremony takes place when the youth has attained a certain age, and is at once a form and a test. On the day appointed for the performance all the men of the tribe assemble at a fixed place, and the " doctor " of the tribe having marked out a circle of considerable extent, the artists proceed to form representations of animals, and other figures, on the soil or sand within the circle. With these the entire place is covered, with the exception of a small spot in the centre, and an air of mystery having been thus imparted to the scene, the ceremony commences in the ring, the spectators being ranged round the circle. The operation of knocking out one of the front teeth of the young man is then performed by the doctor, and on the fortitude which the former displays under the operation depends the estimation in which he is hereafter to be held. He is then presented with the opossum belt, after which he is allowed to marry and join in the conclaves, councils, and expeditions of the tribe, being previous to this ceremony