Australian Aborigines and their Complex Kinship|
Introduction into Cultural Anthropology|
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 and clans. Third, there is also a kinship system that gives a social structuring. The social structuring and kinship system can become very difficult to understand for non-Aboriginal people, but is a natural part of life for Aborigines, and its details vary from tribe to tribe. There are three main aspects of Aboriginal social structure. The first aspect is the geographical structuring of the society. A tribe of around 500 people is made up of bands of about ten to twenty people each. (Australian, 2012) They join together for day to day hunting and food gathering activities. Each band of people can be called a horde. Within each horde are a number of families. The second part is the religious and totemic structuring of the society. On a religious level the society in much of Australia is divided into two moieties. Within each moiety are significant animals, plants, or places, which are of a highly religious nature. Each person, as well as belonging to one or the other moiety, is also connected to one or more of these subjects, called totems. The third part of their social structuring is the relationships between people, otherwise the kinship system. The kinship system allows each person in Aboriginal society to be...