Australian Aborigines and Their Complex Kinship

1215 WordsJul 16, 20125 Pages
Amanda hamner | Australian Aborigines and their Complex Kinship | Introduction into Cultural Anthropology | | Kathryn Grant | 6/11/2012 | | Australian Aborigines and their Complex Kinship Aborigines have a complex system in relation to their social and marriage laws, based on the grouping of people within their society. To understand the complexities of their social organization, consider it this way: divide it first into three main parts. The first part is the physical structuring of society in terms of numbers – family, horde and tribe. Second, the religious structuring based on beliefs and customs, totems and marriage laws. (Kinship, 2005) These beliefs divide people into sections and subsections, totemic groups…show more content…
(Kinship, 2005) Tribes were generally not a war- making group and people generally use their moiety or clan name to describe themselves individually, rather than their tribal name. There were an estimated 500 Aboriginal tribes in Australia at the time of European settlement. Out of all of those tribes about 400 of them are still together. (Australian, 2012) Throughout Australia the moiety system divides all the members of a tribe into two groups. These two groups are based on a connection with certain animals, plants, or other pieces of their environment. (Kinship, 2005) When a person is born into one or the other group it does not change throughout their life. A person belonging to one moiety has to marry a person of the opposite moiety. This is called an exogamous system, meaning that marriage has to be external to the group. The clan is an important unit in Aboriginal society, having its own name, territory and is the land-owning unit. A clan is a group of about forty to fifty people with a common territory and totems and having their own group name. (Kinship, 2005) It consists of groups of extended families. Usually, men born into the clan remain in the clan territory. Not all members of a clan live on the clan territory. The sisters and daughters of one clan go to live on their husbands' clan territory. A horde is an economic group that consists of a number of

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