Kiwai - Kinship



Kin Groups and Descent. The Kiwai are divided into patrilineal totemic clans. According to Landtman, these clans are "strictly exogamous." In some areas the clans are grouped into moieties which have ritual functions and may or may not be exogamous. Married women remain members of their natal totemic clans. Descent is patrilineal.

Kinship Terminology. The Kiwai have Hawaiian-type cousin terms and generational kinship terms in the parental generation. According to Landtman, Kiwai kinship terms do not distinguish between parallel cousins and cross cousins. All cousins are addressed and referred to by the same terms as those used for siblings—terms that denote the sex of the Sibling and his or her age relative to the speaker. There is, However, a special term that is used by cross cousins that is not sex-specific. Landtman also notes that matrilateral parallel cousins "are hardly considered to be related at all by blood, and no particular kinship terms are used between them; they are not, however, allowed to marry." There are five terms for members of the parental generation. Both the father's and the mother's older brothers are addressed and referred to with the term used for grandfather, and both the father's and the mother's older sisters are addressed and referred to with the term that is used for mother. Finally, both the father's and the mother's younger brothers are addressed and referred to with a compound term that includes the term for father, and both the father's and the mother's younger sisters are addressed and referred to with a compound term that includes the term for mother.

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