The Euahlayi Tribe Part 2

Mr. Howitt forgets that he himself attributes the early system of descent through women, and also the belief in an All Father (Nurelli), to the Wiimbaio tribe [IBID. p. 489] to the Wotjobaluk tribe,[NATIVE TRIBES OF SOUTH-EAST AUSTRALIA, pp. 120, 490.] to the Kamilaroi, to the Ta-Ta-thi,[IBID. p. 494] while female descent and the belief in Baiame mark the Euahlayi and Wir djuri. [JOURNAL, ANTHROPOLOGICAL INSTITUTE, XXV., p. 297.]

These tribes cover an enormous area of country, and, though they have not advanced to male kinship, they all possess the belief in an All Father. That belief does not appear to be in any way associated with advance in social organisation, for Messrs. Spencer and Gillen cannot find a trace of it in more than one of the central and northern tribes, which have male kinship, and a kind of local self-government. On the other hand, it does occur among southern tribes, like the Kurnai, which have advanced almost altogether out of totemism.

In short, we have tribes with female descent, such as the Dieri and Urabunna, to whom all knowledge of an All Father is denied. We have many large and important tribes with female descent who certainly believe in an All Father. We have tribes of the highest social advancement who are said to show no vestige of the belief, and we have tribes also socially advanced who hold the belief with great vigour. In these circumstances, authenticated by Mr. Howitt himself, it is impossible to accept the theory that belief in an All Father is only reached in the course of such advance to a higher social organisation as is made by tribes who reckon descent in the male line.



Some savants question the intellectual ability of the blacks because they have not elaborate systems of numeration and notation, which in their life were quite unneeded. Such as were needed were supplied. They are often incorporate in one word-noun and qualifying numerical adjective, as for example--


Booloowah TWO EMUS

Oogle oogle FOUR EMUS



I fancy the brains that could have elaborated their marriage rules were capable of workaday arithmetic if necessary, and few indeed of us know our family trees as the blacks know theirs.

Even the smallest black child who can talk seems full of knowledge as to all his relations, animate and inanimate, the marriage taboos, and the rest of their complicated system.

The first division among this tribe is a blood distinction (I phratries'):--

Gwaigulleeah LIGHT BLOODED

Gwaimudthen DARK BLOODED.

This distinction is not confined to the human beings of the tribe, who must be of one or the other, but there are the Gwaigulleeah and Gwaimudthen divisions in all things. The first and chief division in our tribe, as regards customary marriage law, is the partition of all tribes-folk into these 'phratries,' or 'exogamous moieties.' While in most Australian tribes the meanings of the names of phratries are lost, where the meanings are known they are usually names of animals--Eagle, Hawk, and Crow, White Cockatoo and Black Cockatoo, and so forth. Among the great Kamilaroi tribe, akin in speech to the Euahlayi, the names of phratries, DILBI and KUPATHIN, are of unknown significance. The Euahlayi names, we have seen, are Gwaigulleeah, Light blooded, and Gwaimudthen, Dark blooded.

The origin of this division is said to be the fact that the original ancestors were, on the one side, a red race coming from the west, the Gwaigulleeah; on the other, a dark race coming from the east.

A Gwaigulleeah may under no circumstances marry a Gwaigulleeah; he or she must mate with a Gwaimudthen. This rule has no exception. A child belongs to the same phratry as its mother.

The next name of connection is local, based on belonging to one country or hunting-ground; this name a child takes from its mother wherever it may happen to be born. Any one who is called a Noongahburrah belongs to the Noongah-Kurrajong country; Ghurreeburrah to the orchid country; Mirriehburrah, poligonum country; Bibbilah, Bibbil country, and so on.

This division, not of blood relationship, carries no independent marriage restriction, but keeps up a feeling equivalent to Scotch, Irish, or English, and is counted by the blacks as 'relationship,' but not sufficiently so to bar marriage.

The next division is the name in common for all daughters, or all sons of one family of sisters. The daughters take the name from their maternal grandmother, the sons from their maternal great-uncle.

Of these divisions, called I Matrimonial Classes, there are four for each sex, bearing the same names as among the Kamilaroi. The names are--

Masculine Kumbo BROTHER AND SISTER Feminine, Bootha

Masculine Murree BROTHER AND SISTER Feminine, Matha

Masculine Hippi BROTHER AND SISTER Feminine, Hippitha

Masculine Kubbee BROTHER AND SISTER Feminine, Kubbootha

The children of Bootha will be

Masculine Hippi BROTHER AND SISTER Feminine, Hippitha

The children of Matha will be

Masculine Kubbee BROTHER AND SISTER Feminine, Kubbootha

The children of Hippatha will be

Masculine Kumbo BROTHER AND SISTER Feminine, Bootha

The children of Kubbootha will be

Masculine Murree BROTHER AND SISTER Feminine, Matha

Thus, you see, they take, if girls, their grandmother's and her sisters' 'class' names in common; if boys, the 'class' name of their grandmother's brothers.

Bootha can only marry Murree,

Matha can only marry Kumbo,

Hippitha can only marry Kubbee,

Kubbootha can only marry Hippi.

Both men and women are often addressed by these names when spoken to.

A PROPOS of names, a child is never called at night by the same name as in the daytime, lest the 'devils' hear it and entice him away.

Names are made for the newly born according to circumstances; a girl born under a Dheal tree, for example, was called Dheala. Any incident happening at the time of birth may gain a child a name, such as a particular lizard passing. Two of my black maids were called after lizards in that way: Barahgurree and Bogginbinnia.

Nimmaylee is a porcupine with the spines coming; such an one having been brought to the camp just as a girl was born, she became Nimmaylee.

The mothers, with native politeness, ask you to give their children English names, but much mote often use in familiar conversation either the Kumbo Bootha names, or others derived from place of birth, from some circumstance connected with it, a child's mispronunciation of a word, some peculiarity noticed in the child, or still more often they call each other by the name proclaiming the degree of relationship.

For example, a girl calls the daughters of her mother and of her aunts alike sisters.

Chapter end

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