Baniwa-Curripaco-Wakuenai - Kinship



Kin Groups and Descent. Wakuenai society is divided into five or six exogamous phratries, each consisting of four or five patrilineal sibs ranked according to the order of emergence of mythical ancestral brother-spirits. In the past, sibs were categorized according to a system of ritual roles as chiefs, shamans, warriors, dancers, and servants; today, these roles are virtually nonexistent. Phratries are generally named after the highest-ranked sib of the group; in one case, a group of five phratries has united into a larger, unnamed unit of organization. On rare historical occasions, phratries have acted as corporate decision-making groups, but more important today is their strong sense of identity based on common mythical emergence sites and territories, an ideology of descent from first or historical ancestors, and ceremonial property (sacred flutes, chants, name-sets). The core of local communities is the male sibling group and, as on the phratric and sib level, male sibling ties form the basis of a system of hierarchical rank according to relative age; the meaning of the rank, however, is subject to local variations in practice. Traditionally, the agnatic sibling group of a community constituted the most important level of decision making.


Kinship Terminology. Terminological uses in general follow the Dravidian system.


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