Kapingamarangi - Kinship

Kin Groups and Descent. Kinship groups are corporate with respect to two things: land and ceremonies. Group formation uses the cognatic descent principle of eligibility with one exception. The madawaawa, the group centered on house compounds, is really a descent category with a six- or seven-generation depth from whose membership groups can be recruited for specific purposes, such as feasts, funerals, house repair, and roof thatching; as groups form for these projects, people can opt in or out, with participation signaling group membership. For members of the secular class, such recruitment used cognatic descent. But since eligibility for the priesthood was inherited matrilineally, those madawaawa consisting exclusively of members of the sacred class were matrilineal (nonexogamous) lineages. These lineages functioned as a group during specific cult-house rituals and for weddings, funerals, and other celebrations of their members that specifically centered on the group's house compound. Similarly, the land-owning madahaanau functioned as ritual groups during life-crisis events of their members.

Kinship Terminology. Kapinga kin terms are of the Hawaiian type, distinguishing all ascending generation females as dinana, or "mother" from all ascending generation males as da mana, or "father." All relatives in Ego's generation are called by the single sibling term, duaahina, and all descending generation relatives are referred to by the term for child, dama.

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