Kin Groups and Descent. The main corporate kin groups are patrilineal clans that own land and the ritual objects and ceremonies that validate their title. In the case of large clans, this function may be assumed by subclan or lineage groups. Kinship provides the primary medium of social identity in the Yolngu social domain; each person is reckoned as kin to every other person, and kin links may thus be traced through Several different relatives. Matrilineally defined relationships establish rights and duties complementary to those of patrilineal descent but not corporate landowning groups.
Kinship Terminology. Yolngu use some twenty-four kin terms (as well as some optional extras) to distinguish lineal and collateral, marriageable and nonmarriageable relatives; the analysis of their system of kin classification continues to provide fertile ground for anthropological debate.