Tokelau - Kinship

Kin Groups and Descent. Descent is thoroughly cognatic both in principle and practice, and the sister-brother relationship is central. Landholding kin groups are composed of anyone who can trace descent by any route from their founders, and they are internally divided into "sons and their issue" and "daughters and their issue" with reference to the sons and daughters of the founding ancestor or ancestral couple. From the side of the "sons" the head of the "family" is selected. He represents the group in villagewide matters and has authority over the productive property of the group. The "daughters" side provides the woman known as the "foundation" of the family. She resides in the ancestral home and allocates produce from family property among its members.

Kinship Terminology. A Hawaiian-type system is modified by the same-sex or opposite-sex distinction in sibling terms so that there are three such terms: sibling of own sex, male or female; sibling of opposite sex, male; and sibling of opposite sex, female. Correspondingly, "mother's brother" and "sister's child" are marked terms, as is "father's sister."

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