Nias - Kinship



Kin Groups and Descent. Descent is patrilineal. Clans ( mado ) are dispersed. In the center, the local lineage is the largest corporate descent group. It has a depth of about six generations and its members, who call themselves sambua motua (those of one ancestor), generally share land, cooperate in festive and economic ventures, venerate the same set of ancestor figures, and live in the same or adjoining houses. Variant marriage forms have no effect on patrilineal recruitment. Fostering of agnates or a sister's child is common but adoption of nonkin is rare and was formerly associated with servitude. In the south patrilineal descent groups of varying compass are called mo'ama. Precise details on descent organization in the north and south are lacking. There is great variation in adherence to the ideal of clan exogamy, both within a region and between regions.


Kinship Terminology. Great regional variety and a complexity of contextual options prevent a simple classification. In all areas matrilateral cross cousins are distinguished from other cousins and siblings. Distinctions of relative age in sibling sets are carried through all levels down to grandchild. There are separate terms for wife givers and wife takers but no prescriptive equations.

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