Iroquois kinship

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Iroquois kinship (also known as bifurcate merging) is a kinship system named after the Haudenosaunee people that were previously known as Iroquois and whose kinship system was the first one described to use this particular type of system. Identified by Lewis Henry Morgan in his 1871 work Systems of Consanguinity and Affinity of the Human Family , the Iroquois system is one of the six major kinship systems (Eskimo, Hawaiian, Iroquois, Crow, Omaha, and Sudanese).[ citation needed ]

<i>Systems of Consanguinity and Affinity of the Human Family</i>

Systems of Consanguinity and Affinity of the Human Family is an 1871 book written by Lewis Henry Morgan and published by the Smithsonian Institution. It is considered foundational for the discipline of anthropology and particularly for the study of human kinship. It was the culmination of decades of research into the variety of kinship terminologies in the world conducted partly through fieldwork and partly through a global survey of kinship terminologies in the languages and cultures of the world.

Eskimo kinship is a category of kinship used to define family organization in anthropology. Identified by Lewis Henry Morgan in his 1871 work Systems of Consanguinity and Affinity of the Human Family, the Eskimo system was one of six major kinship systems.

Hawaiian kinship, also referred to as the generational system, is a kinship system used to define family. Identified by Lewis H. Morgan in his 1871 work Systems of Consanguinity and Affinity of the Human Family, the Hawaiian system is one of the six major kinship systems.

Contents

Kinship system

The system has both classificatory and descriptive terms. In addition to gender and generation, Iroquois kinship also distinguishes 'same-sex' and 'cross-sex' parental siblings: the brothers of Ego's (the subject from whose perspective the kinship is based) father, and the sisters of Ego's mother, are referred to by the same parental kinship terms used for Ego's Father and Mother. The sisters of Ego's father, and the brothers of Ego's mother, on the other hand, are referred to by non-parental kinship terms, commonly translated into English as "Aunt" and "Uncle".

Classificatory kinship systems, as defined by Lewis Henry Morgan, put people into society-wide kinship classes on the basis of abstract relationship rules. These may have to do with genealogical relations locally but the classes bear no overall relation to genetic closeness. If a total stranger marries into the society, for example, they may simply be placed in the appropriate class opposite to their spouse. It uses kinship terms that merge or equate relatives who are genealogically distinct from one another. Here, the same term is used for different kin.

The children of one's parents' same-sex siblings, i.e. parallel cousins, are referred to by sibling kinship terms. The children of Aunts or Uncles, i.e. cross cousins, are not considered siblings, and are referred to by kinship terms commonly translated into English as "cousin". In some systems, the kinship terms applied to cross-cousins are the same as those applied to brothers-in-law and sisters-in-law, due to preferential marriage practices (see below).

Egocentric genealogical diagram of the Iroquois kinship system. Iriquois-kinship-chart.svg
Egocentric genealogical diagram of the Iroquois kinship system.

Marriage

Ego (the subject from whose perspective the kinship is based) is encouraged to marry his cross cousins but discouraged or prohibited from marrying his parallel cousins. In many societies with Iroquois kinship terminologies, the preferred marriage partners include not only first cousins (mother's brother's children and father's sister's children), but more remote relatives who are also classified as cross cousins by the logic of the kinship system. Preferential cross-cousin marriage can be useful in reaffirming alliances between unilineal lineages or clans.

A lineage is a unilineal descent group that can demonstrate their common descent from a known apical ancestor. Unilineal lineages can be matrilineal or patrilineal, depending on whether they are traced through mothers or fathers, respectively. Whether matrilineal or patrilineal descent is considered most significant differs from culture to culture.

A clan is a group of people united by actual or perceived kinship and descent. Even if lineage details are unknown, clan members may be organized around a founding member or apical ancestor. Clans in indigenous societies tend to be exogamous, meaning that their members cannot marry one another. Clans preceded more centralized forms of community organization and government, and exist in every country. Members may identify with a coat of arms or other symbol to show they are an independent clan. The kinship-based bonds may also have a symbolic ancestor, whereby the clan shares a "stipulated" common ancestor that is a symbol of the clan's unity. When this "ancestor" is non-human, it is referred to as a totem, which is frequently an animal.

Usage

The term Iroquois comes from the six Iroquois tribes of northeastern North America. Another aspect of their kinship was that the six tribes all had matrilineal systems, in which children were born into the mother's clan and gained status through it. Women controlled some property, and hereditary leadership passed through the maternal line. A woman's eldest brother was more important as a mentor to her children than their father, who was always of a different clan.

Iroquois Northeast Native American confederacy

The Iroquois or Haudenosaunee are a historically powerful northeast Native American confederacy. They were known during the colonial years to the French as the Iroquois League, and later as the Iroquois Confederacy, and to the English as the Five Nations, comprising the Mohawk, Onondaga, Oneida, Cayuga, and Seneca. After 1722, they accepted the Tuscarora people from the Southeast into their confederacy and became known as the Six Nations.

Some groups in other countries also happen to be independently organized for kinship by the Iroquois system. It is commonly found in unilineal descent groups. These include:

Unilineality system of determining descent groups in which one belongs to ones fathers or mothers line, whereby ones descent is traced either exclusively through male ancestors (patriline), or exclusively through female ancestors (matriline)

Unilineality is a system of determining descent groups in which one belongs to one's father's or mother's line, whereby one's descent is traced either exclusively through male ancestors (patriline), or exclusively through female ancestors (matriline). Both patrilineality and matrilineality are types of unilineal descent. The main types of the unilineal descent groups are lineages and clans.

  1. The Anishinaabe of North America, who include the Algonquin, Nipissing, Mississauga, Ojibwe, Saulteaux, Odawa and Potawatomi peoples. Many of these people were traditional neighbors to the Iroquois, but they spoke languages of the Algonquian family.

Other populations found to have the Iroquois system are

  1. Most of the Bantu-speaking cultures of Eastern and Southern sub-Saharan Africa see Sesotho kinship for an example.
  2. Many Melanesian societies.

South India and Sri Lanka

Some communities in South India use the kinship tradition described above. [1]

Melanesia

Many of the cultures of Vanuatu use this type of kinship system. In Bislama (Vanuatu pidgin), paternal uncles and maternal aunts are referred to as smol papa "small father" and smol mama "small mother" respectively.

See also

Related Research Articles

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Crow kinship is a kinship system used to define family. Identified by Lewis Henry Morgan in his 1871 work Systems of Consanguinity and Affinity of the Human Family, the Crow system is one of the six major kinship systems.

Omaha kinship is the system of terms and relationships used to define family in Omaha tribal culture. Identified by Lewis Henry Morgan in his 1871 work Systems of Consanguinity and Affinity of the Human Family, the Omaha system is one of the six major kinship systems which he identified internationally.

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Commonly, "cousin" refers to a "first cousin", people whose most recent common ancestor is a grandparent. A first cousin used to be known as a cousin-german, though this term is rarely used today.

Fictive kinship is a term used by anthropologists and ethnographers to describe forms of kinship or social ties that are based on neither consanguineal nor affinal ties, in contrast to true kinship ties.

In discussing consanguineal kinship in anthropology, a parallel cousin or ortho-cousin is a cousin from a parent's same-sex sibling, while a cross-cousin is from a parent's opposite-sex sibling. Thus, a parallel cousin is the child of the father's brother or of the mother's sister, while a cross-cousin is the child of the mother's brother or of the father's sister. Where there are unilineal descent groups in a society, one's parallel cousins on one or both sides will belong to one's own descent group, while cross-cousins will not.

Chinese kinship

The Chinese kinship system is classified as a "Sudanese" or "descriptive" system for the definition of family. Identified by Lewis Henry Morgan in his 1871 work Systems of Consanguinity and Affinity of the Human Family, the Sudanese system is one of the six major kinship systems together with Eskimo, Hawaiian, Iroquois, Crow, and Omaha.

In-law may refer to:

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Kinship terminology is the system used in languages to refer to the persons to whom an individual is related through kinship. Different societies classify kinship relations differently and therefore use different systems of kinship terminology; for example, some languages distinguish between consanguine and affinal uncles, whereas others have only one word to refer to both a father and his brothers. Kinship terminologies include the terms of address used in different languages or communities for different relatives and the terms of reference used to identify the relationship of these relatives to ego or to each other.

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Irish kinship is a system of kinship terminology which shows a bifurcate collateral pattern. This system is used by a minority of people living in the Gaeltacht regions of Ireland. Irish kinship terminology varies from English kinship as it focuses on gender and generation, with less emphasis on differentiating lineal vs. collateral.

Uncle is a male family relationship or kinship within an extended or immediate family. An uncle is the brother, half-brother, or brother-in-law of one's parent. The specific terms for the last two respectively are half-uncle and uncle-in-law which can refer also to the husband of one's aunt. A biological uncle is a second degree male relative and shares 25% genetic overlap. However people who are not a biological uncle are sometimes affectionately called as an uncle as a title of admiration and respect.

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Sesotho – the language of the Basotho ethnic group of South Africa and Lesotho – has a complex system of kinship terms which may be classified to fall under the Iroquois kinship pattern. The complex terminology rules are necessitated in part by the traditional promotion of certain forms of cousin marriage among the Bantu peoples of sub-Saharan Africa. Most of the terms used have common reconstructed Proto-Bantu roots.

References

  1. The Origin of the Family, Private Property and the State.