Warao - Kinship

Kin Groups. Kin groups as such play a role only as expressed in the domestic unit built around a group of real or classificatory sisters. The principal woman, hanoko orotu or "owner of the house," enjoys considerable prestige, and the important daily decisions are made by the core group of sisters and classificatory sisters. The work group is commanded by the old father-in-law, arahi, through the husband of his oldest daughter, dawa awahabara, who serves as foreman over the inmarrying husbands, harayabas, of the former's daughters and granddaughters. Descent is bilateral and fictive kinship is frequent.

Kinship Terminology. Warao kinship terminology is different from that of all neighboring indigenous groups, which use Dravidian or two-line systems. Warao cousin terminology is of the Hawaiian type, according to Murdock's classification, resulting in the same kin terms for brothers/sisters and cousins. Male and female Ego, however, use different kinship terms, and address and reference terms are not distinguished. The ascending generation has a bifurcate-collateral terminology, whereas in the descending generation only a man's sister's children are distinguished from sons and daughters. There is a complete set of affinal kinship terms that structure social behavior inside the residence group.

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