Bau - Kinship



Kin Groups and Descent. Fijian society is organized into a hierarchy of kinship groups of increasing orders of inclusiveness. At Bau, the chiefly yavusa was divided into four patricians: the two chiefly mataqali, a warrior clan, and a herald clan divided into two subclans associated with each of the chiefly lines. With the rise to political importance of the chiefly confederations since the 1987 coups, clan relationships at the individual level are becoming more important once again.

Kinship Terminology. The system is of the Iroquois type, with some special features. There is the usual sharp distinction between cross and parallel relatives, but bifurcate merging occurs in all but the second descending generation, in which kinship reckoning is simply generational. Among the chiefly families of Bau, the vasu relationship, between ego and mother's brother, was used to cement ties with other chiefdoms. The vasu was able to make particular demands on the material wealth of his maternal uncle's kin group, frequently doing so in the interests of his own chiefdom.

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