Howitt to Fison 20/9/1878

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Transcription - Page 4

Yeerung including all males - Djeetgun including
all females. Is it possible that among the Biduelli
all men are Merrung - and all women Yuckembrack
and that the classes do not affect the marriage?
I cannot certainly make it fit. As to group relationships
you will find among the Kurni that all men are brothers
because they are Yeerung; that all women are sisters
because they are all Djeetgun. It is a common saying
the Yeerungs are the men's brothers - the Djeetguns are the women's
sisters. All those who have been initiated into manhood at
the same time are brothers - I said to my friend Toolebar
-"all Brogan like it brother" he replied "All Brogan are
brother". You call boy belonging to me leet (child) - and you
call myan belonging to me - my andown (my wife). This is the
fact - since I was first made Brogan two years ago
Tooleba's old wife always salutes my with "good morning
Brarbittel" (my husband) - I gravely reply "good morning my andown"
When ascertaining from the Darling blackfellow his class
names, I explained what I wanted by saying "I am
mungaller (Lizard) belonging to Mūquaa (Eaglehawk)
belonging to Cooper Ck blackfellow." He immediately replied
(mentioning his class name) "then you and me all same as
brothers". This was a relationship in the class - for his
tribe and the Cooper Ck are totally unconnected.
I will look this up and [?quote?] separately for you.
No doubt it has struck you -but I may point out
perhaps - that we ought to find among some tribes
terms equivalent to cousin - and as we find
separate terms designating elder, younger brother, elder
younger sister, we might expect to find similar
terms for various cousins - paternal and maternal
I find that the Kurni of Gippsland have
apparently stopped from the consanguine
[terms - crossed out] system + terms - brothers + sisters - past the intermediate

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Document Details

Date 20 September 1878
Letter From Howitt, Alfred William
Letter To Fison, Reverend Lorimer
Country Australia
Holding Institution St Mark's National Theological Centre
Collection Name Alan Tippett/Lorimer Fison Collection
Registration Number tip70-10-33-18
Medium Letter
Region Gippsland
Locality Sale
Summary Lengthy discussion regarding their theories, customs and practices mainly of the Gippsland groups, and their forthcoming joint publication, Kamilaroi and Kurnai. Howitt has completed his first draft of about 50 foolscap pages.
Physical Description Handwritten in ink, signed and dated.