Kin Groups. Each Boazi speaker is a member of a lineage, a totemic group, and a moiety. Lineages are named for their apical ancestors, and totemic groups have animals such as the pig, cassowary, crocodile, and various types of fish as their to-tems. Totemic groups are divided into moieties, one consisting of groups with land-animal totems and the other consisting of groups with water-animal totems. While Boazi speakers talk about lineages, totemic groups, and moieties as if they all recruit members through patrilineal descent and are hierarchically organized, there are important differences in the recruitment of members between lineages on the one hand and totemic groups and moieties on the other. An individual always belongs to the same lineage as his or her father, but in the recruitment of individuals to totemic groups and moieties, patrilineal descent is subordinated to the principles governing marriage exchanges: a man gives a woman to a man in the opposite moiety from whom he receives a wife; and a man should belong to the same lineage, and therefore the same totemic group and moiety, as the woman he gives in exchange for his wife. In cases in which a man gives his uterine sister, or another woman from his totemic group, in exchange for his wife, the marriage-exchange principle and the principle of patrilineal descent have the same result—that is, the man will continue to belong to his father's totemic group and moiety. But when a man gives a woman from a lineage that is part of another totemic group, he will change his totemic group, and in some instances his moiety, to that of the woman whom he has given in exchange for his wife.
Kinship Terminology. While descent is patrilineal, kinship is reckoned bilaterally. Boazi kinship terms distinguish between cross cousins and parallel cousins, and separate terms are used for father's older brother, father's younger brother, father's sister, mother's older sister, mother's younger sister, and mother's brother. Both father's older brother and mother's older sister are addressed and referred to as though they were members of the grandparental generation. In addition to their use with actual kinsmen and kinswomen, kinship terms (denoting relative age and membership in the same or opposite moiety as the speaker) are used both in addressing and in referring to all Boazi speakers.