Kin Groups and Descent. The strength of matrilineal identity is embodied in the belief that conception occurs when an ancestral spirit child enters a woman's body. All members of the matrilineage are believed to have the "same blood" and also to have rights to the "same land." Land, ancestral names, body and house decorations, magic spells, dances, and taboos are all owned by members of individual matrilineages. Although men may lend the use of land and names to their children, they must be reclaimed by men's sisters at a later time. From birth, Trobrianders belong to one of four exogamous matriclans that are not corporate groups. Clan membership determines marriage categories, bringing together in alternating generations members of different matrilineages within the same clan who view themselves as close kin. These are the people who support each other in important exchange events.
Kinship Terminology. Kin terms are a modified Crow type with a number of atypical features. For example, the same term is used for ego's mother and mother's brother's wife and the terms for parallel siblings-in-law are merged with parallel siblings.