Koya - Kinship



Kin Groups and Descent. All Koyas belong to one of five unranked exogamous patrilineal phratries called gotrams. Although Koyas agree that there are five phratries, they do not agree on their names, and different areas use different names. Each phratry is associated with a unique set of deities and a traditional sacred geography in the Bastar region. At five-year intervals, the phratry gods are brought down from Bastar and taken in procession through the whole Koya country. Phratries are subdivided into numerous named exogamous patrilineages. There is no agreement from area to area or even from village to village about the phratry affiliation of different lineages. Many of the lineages are named for plants and animals, and there is a vague kind of totemism in some cases. An icon associated with a lineage god is kept in a village having a preponderant population belonging to its lineage. Such icons take the form of metal spear points. They are kept hidden in secret places near the "god shed," which houses other paraphernalia used in the lineage rituals. God sheds are usually located on the village outskirts. Lineages are neither political nor territorial units. Each is subdivided into many local branches scattered throughout the Koya area. They convene at a ritual center once a year to perform the lineage sacrifice, but apart from that have little in the way of corporate character. The local lineage consists of members of a lineage resident in the same village and tracing descent to a common named ancestor. They are sometimes multifamily landholding groups, but these are more often divided into separate-family residential groups.

Kinship Terminology. Kinship terminology is Dravidian, distinguishing between cross and parallel relatives in Ego's generation and in the two generations above and below Ego's.


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