Page:Folk-lore - A Quarterly Review. Volume 17, 1906.djvu/188

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Native Tribes of South- East Australia.

what he intended, unless it were to strengthen the application of a theory of early religion to Australia. If I am wrong in this, I am open to correction by Mr. Lang, if he will kindly state, in as few words as possible, what he desires to prove, or which of my statements he desires to disprove.

I may remark that Mr, Lang appears to have overlooked or disregarded the fact that I have endeavoured to show how the process of social development has become more marked in proceeding from the Lake Eyre tribe to those at the coast. Messrs. Spencer and Gillen show how this change has come about in the Central and Northern tribes, which have split up the two classes into four and then into eight sub-classes, with descent counted in the male line.

In reviewing all the evidence bearing upon this advance in tribal society he seems not to realise that some tribes have retained certain primitive features or have made greater advances than others. It is only by taking into consideration all the steps in advance made by the tribes, that a true and correct picture of their social development can be obtained.

Moreover I have laid stress upon the evidence of social development which has accompanied the change from a status of group-marriage with female descent, as in the Lake Eyre and kindred tribes, to one of individual marriage with male descent as the ultimate result in the South and East.

The fact that the All-Father belief is held by tribes which have not got beyond the two-class organization, or who have developed four sub-classes, while others hold it who have got so far as to be organized upon locality, means no more than, that some tribes have progressed in social development more rapidly than others.

Mr. Lang does not believe in the existence of "group