Kin Groups and Descent. Atoni belong to named, exogamous patrilineal descent groups, or "name groups" ( kanaf ), which may be extensive in size and widely distributed within a territory but which are not corporate. Localized lineages of the same "name group" (some of which may in fact use different names) are the cooperative units for ritual, economic, legal, or marriage activities. Atoni place importance on continuing affinal alliance ties between lineages that stand in complementary relationships as wife givers and wife takers.
Kinship Terminology. Atoni have a Dravidian type of kinship terminology that clearly distinguishes affines from agnates in Ego's generation and the first ascending and descending generations. In the second ascending and descending generations, agnates and affines are merged terminologically in many Atoni areas, though in some areas the distinction is maintained. Consistent with an Atoni ideal of symmetrical marriage exchange, mother's brother's daughters and father's sister's daughters are called by the same term.