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Page:Folk-lore - A Quarterly Review. Volume 17, 1906.djvu/527

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Reviews. 489

it as the best explanation of the facts so far as they are known.

No complete account of Australian sociology can be rendered until the tribes of the vast territory comprised in West Australia have been explored. Until that is done conclusions as to the march of culture and the relative primitivity of the tribes are insecure. Still we may under this reserve form an opinion as to the position of the Arunta in Australian civilization. I am in the unfortunate position of agreeing wholly with neither party to the controversy. I admit that the Arunta possess primitive traits. The office and authority of Headman is undeveloped as compared with many of the tribes to the South and South-East. The knowledge of the physical relation between a child and its father, which is well understood by many other tribes, is wanting. On the other hand, the social organization on the basis of father-right (despite M. van Gennep's interesting argu- ment), the eight matrimonial classes, the extraordinary multi- plication of the ceremonies, and their quasi-private ownership, the totemic anomalies and the wealth of myths (largely oetiological) are to my mind all evidences of advance. If, as Messrs. Spencer and Gillen think, changes always come from the north, then the Urabunna to the south of the Arunta should be more "primitive" than the Arunta. Now they are still in the stage of mother-right, they present something like what we are acquainted with elsewhere as the ordinary features of totemism, and they have the Piraungaru relation, which is certainly more " primitive " than the Arunta individual marriage. That some ceremonies do travel from north to south we know. For example, the corroboree of Molonga has travelled within the last fifteen or twenty years from the Worgaia to the Dieri and even further.^ Whether that dance, however, originated among the Worgaia we do not know. The straw-bottle-envelope- shaped helmets of which Dr. Roth speaks as worn by the per- formers, and which are .shewn in the illustration by Dr. Howitt, are worn at ceremonies by the Warramunga, and are shewn several times in Messrs. Spencer and Gillen's Northern Tribes.

^ From the Dieri it seems to have gone not only southward but also north- westward. Howitt, Native Tribes, p. 787.