Arunta sentence example
This exception was discovered by Messrs Spencer and Gillen among the Arunta of central Australia, some allied septs, and their nearest neighbours to the north, the Kaitish.
The Arunta hold that the spirits of kangaroos are expelled by human blood from certain rocks.
Among the Arunta of Central Australia, the ghosts of the dead haunt certain localities, and, entering the bodies of passing women, are constantly reincarnated; the Black-snake clan of the Warramunga tribe embodies the spirits which the original ancestor had deposited by a certain creek.'
Moreover, it is a human weakness to manipulate one's ancestry, and the common claim to be descended from the local godling is not to be confused with the Arunta type of reincarnation.4 Again, in the part taken by women in serpent-lore other problems of primitive society and religion intermingle.
In the centre of Australia, Atnatu, self-created, is known, as has been said, to the Kaitish tribe, next neighbours of the Arunta of the Macdonnell Hills.Advertisement
Among the Arunta, Mr Strehlow (Globus, May 1907) finds such a being as Atnatu, and also among some other adjacent tribes, as the Luritja.
Gillen, who discovered Atnatu, did not find any trace of an All-Father among the Arunta, or any other of the tribes to the north and north-east of the centre.
Mr Strehlow's branch of the Arunta they did not examine.
While the All-Father belief is common in the tribes of southeastern Australia, the tribes round Lake Eyre, the Arunta (as known to Messrs Spencer and Gillen), and the other central and northern tribes, are credited with no germs of belief in what is called a supreme, and may truly be styled a superior being.
Meanwhile, among some of the Arunta of the centre, among the Dieri and Urabunna tribes near Lake Eyre and their congeners, and among the tribes north by east of the Arunta, no such belief has been discovered by Messrs Spencer and Gillen, from whom the tribes kept no secrets, or by Mr Siebert, a missionary among the now all but extinct Dieri.Advertisement
These beings modified the face of the country; in Arunta belief rocks and trees arose to mark the places where they finally " went into the ground " (Oknanikilla), and their spirits still haunt certain places such as these; and are reincarnated in native women who pass by.
Most of the magic is worked (Intichiuma in Arunta) by the members of each totem kin or group for the behoof of the totem as an article of food supply.
Among the Arunta, the Alcheringa folk are part of a strangely elaborate theory of evolution and of animism, which leaves no room for a creative being, or for a future life of the spirit, which is merely reincarnated at intervals.
But tribes far from the sea, as in northern New South Wales and Queensland, have the All-Father belief, with individual marriage and female descent, while tribes of the north coast, with male descent, are credited with no All-Father; and the Arunta, as far as possible from the sea, have no All-Father (save in Strehlow's district), and have individual marriage and male reckoning of descent in matters of inheritance; while the Urabunna and Dieri, with female descent and the custom of pirrauru (called " group marriage " by Howitt), are not credited with the All-Father belief.
The Arunta of Messrs Spencer and Gillen may have possessed and deposed the Altjira superior being of the Arunta known to Mr Strehlow, like the Atnatu of the adjacent Kaitish, or the All-Father of the neighbouring Luritja; or these beings may be more recent divergences of doctrine, departures from pure Alcheringaism with no AllFather.Advertisement
We may observe how even a very primitive people such as the Arunta of Australia behaves with the greatest solemnity at its ceremonies, and professes to be made "glad" and "strong" thereby; whilst of his countrymen, whom he would not trust to pray in private, Plato testifies that in the temples during the sacrificial prayers "they show an intense earnestness and with eager interest talk to the Gods and beseech them" (Laws, 887).