Lakalai - Kinship

Kin Groups and Descent. Every Lakalai is born into a named, nonlocalized, agamous matrilineal descent group, called a "sib" or "clan" in the literature. Each has several food taboos, which differ for subclans, and a sacred place ( olu ) in which the dead of the clan reside. Clans that share an olu or a food taboo consider each other "brothers" and so constitute phratries. The clan owns garden land, incorporeal property such as mask designs and magical spells, and portable wealth used to finance marriages of clan members and to settle feuds. Because clans are dispersed throughout Lakalai, only the local segment constitutes a social group, headed by the senior male. The father's clan also feels responsibility for the "children of the clan." Finally, all coresidents of a hamlet regard each other as members of a bilateral kindred.

Kinship Terminology. Kinship terminology is Iroquoistype, with relative age being indicated for siblings of the same sex. Because of consanguineal, clan, phratry, and hamlet ties, kinship terms are extended to all members of the village, many being related in more than one way. Classificatory Siblings are preferred to those labeled as cross cousins, with whom there is an avoidance relationship. Cross cousins may be married by arrangement, but marriages resulting from love affairs typically involve classificatory siblings.

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