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ABTS2060 real project

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Kyle Howard

on 11 May 2010

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Transcript of ABTS2060 real project

"As I shall show, the various dimensions to kinship and marriage (genealogy, subsection identity, Country identity, moiety identity, terminology, beliefs regarding moral obligations in terms of kinship and affinity, etc.) were never coherent as a single unified system. It may have appeared as such because the Lardil, like most Aboriginal peoples in Australia, invoked an overarching notion of tradition they called the law, which they affirmed was coherent, logical and unassailable. But the Law is the court of no recourse, no appeal, and so its supposed coherence is a gag that effectively silences all protest, because behind the Law are the Law Men – the elders – with their spears and sorcery" (McKnight, D 2004, p.xxi). Questions! Need a question here! McKnight uses past tense consistently throughout the text. Do you think this has a negative impact on people's beliefs of Aboriginal culture? Especially the continuation of kinship systems? Introduction McKnight (1935 - 2006)

British-trained anthropologist.

Published in 2004, but researched since 1966 Marriage Straight-Head
(lelkubu) Wrong-way
(birdiwur) Marries mother's mother's brother's
daughter's daughter

or father's father's sister's son's daughter Most bidiwur is to Yaku (Sister)

Least Bidiwur is to play-granny
(nyerre) Missionaries On Mornington Island since 1914

Had dormitories since 1925 - to seperate children from parents

Children who were in dormitories were unable to learn by experience how to interact correctly
This caused problems.

Polygamy was banned, and youths who were causing trouble with many partners were forced to marry (Cawte 1972).

According to Huffer (1980) no more than eight dormitory girls married men according to traditional rule.


Not always missionary led... Young people soon learned that the missionaries would help 'for love'.

Increased wrong marriages, leading to upset elders who generally could not stop the problem

Wrong-way marriages cause confusion as to how people relate, which further down the track will cause confusion as to whether marriages are straight-head or not.

A brother would not speak to his sister or even go anywhere near her. Although a sister and brother had many funs and play during the time when they were both brought up in the dormitory under European eyes and care, but as I lived amongst my people, there were different laws and customs to be taken over for me to understand, and become as one of my old people. For instance, when I was told by my folks, ‘Now, Girl, you must not go near your brothers,’ or ‘Don’t go near them. Even when you speak to them, you must keep away’…
Well when I heard that, I laughed and said, ‘Daddy you cannot stop me from speaking to my brothers. We were meant to speak and play with each other. That’s why God gave us brothers and sisters, so we can enjoy life with our parents, to make everyone feel happy.’ That’s all I said. Dad was so angry with me. Why I did that… because it sounded so awful for me not to be able to speak and play with my brothers.
Then Dad and Mum, uncles and aunties and other relatives spoke to me, ‘Now you are a young woman. You must keep away from your brothers.’ For quite a long while it was upsetting to we sisters. (Elsie Roughsey 1984: pp. 90-1)
Question! How do people know if their relationship status has changed?
Does it slowly dawn on them, or do people sit down and explain? David McKnight mentions how children are taught their place,
but doesn't really mention older people who have trouble along
the way. Paternal or Maternal? Marriage and initiation in Lardil are maternal issues.

But all of McKnight's observations were paternally dominated.

"No one seemed to be aware that accounts of the traditional role of fathers and maternal kin in marriage matters were at variance with what was occurring." (McKnight, D 2004, p. 29)

In Deneenymen ceremony (Betrothal ceremony) the maternal relatives should have authority, however, the paternal relatives seem to command while the maternl relatives sit back.

McKnight hypothesised that this could be a shift from maternal rights to paternal rights. Question! If the rights are shifting from maternal to paternal, do you think this is a good or bad situation? AND What possible reasons could there be for this shift? Question! Talk About Kinship Kyle Howard ABTS2060 Thank you for listening!
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