Page:Totem and Taboo (1919).djvu/195

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himself quite similarly about the origin of totemism, though without emphasizing the misunderstanding. If we want to explain the veneration of animals we must not forget how often human names are borrowed from animals. The children and followers of a man who was called bear or lion naturally made this their ancestral name. In this way it came about that the animal itself came to be respected and finally venerated.

Fison has advanced what seems an irrefutable objection to such a derivation of the totem name from the names of individuals.[1] He shows from conditions in Australia that the totem is always the mark of a group of people and never of an individual. But if it were otherwise, if the totem was originally the name of a single individual, it could never, with the system of maternal inheritance, descend to his children.

The theories thus far stated are evidently inadequate. They may explain how animal names came to be applied to primitive tribes but they can never explain the importance attached to the giving of names which constitutes the totemic system. The most noteworthy theory of this group has been developed by Andrew Lang in his books, Social Origins, 1903, and The

  1. Kamilaroi and Kurmai, p. 165, 1880 (Lang, “Secret of the Totem,” etc.).