Kinship Australian Indigenous Societies


Kinship is the core of any indigenous society. It has been existing for thousands of years and is existing today as well. It is a complex and sophisticated system of social organizations covering responsibilities, roles and common bonds determining how people are related. An individual's position in the Kinship builds up their relationship to the universe. It outlays the primary duties and responsibilities towards others. In Australia, there are more than five hundred indigenous nations that are connected exclusively through kinship systems. The diversity of the indigenous people has led the United Nations to not define the term 'indigenous' in anybody of the United Nations. There are two kinds of indigenous groups existing in Australia-the aboriginals and the Torres Strait islander. The Torres strait islander generally likes to mark their identification as outsiders. The aboriginal counties cover extensive geographical areas that include distinctive borders.


Aboriginal Kinship – Indidenous Communities

The structuring of the indigenous groups has been divided into clan groups. That include family groups. Generally, most of these groups share a familiar language and a similar kinship scheme. The basis of grounding these structures are on patrilinear or matrilineal lines of descent. The children take the patrilinear nations to form their kinship structures. Generally, three degrees of connection is present in the indigenous community- Moiety, Totem and skin. The children in these communities, in general, are affiliated with the patrilinear structure. The structure is similar for the matrilineal lines of descent.

Moiety is the primary degree of connection. In the Latin terminology, it is signified as 'half'. In this structure, the individuals and earth are divided into an equivalent portion. One half is a replica of other. These two parts must meet up to realize the entire universe. One's Moiety may be influenced either by matrilineal or patrilineal side. If the individuals share a similar Moiety, they are recognized as kin. This degree indicates that they are prohibited to wed while must assist or facilitate the other. The term for Moiety differs in different countries as per the language. For instance, the Yolngu individuals of north-eastern Arnhem Land are either Dhuwa or Yirritja. The second degree of connection is Totem. Every individual has four Totems that symbolize their country, faction and family gathering, just as an individual Totem. Individuals do not 'own' their Totems; instead, they are responsible for them. It is a duty to guarantee that Totems are ensured and given to the people to come. For instance, while individuals from one Moiety ensure the conservation of an animal, the individuals from the other Moiety may eat and utilize the creature.

The third degree of connection is the Skin Name. As a last name, a Skin Name shows an individual's bloodline. It likewise passes on data about how ages are connected and how they ought to collaborate. In contrast to family names, married couples do not have a similar Skin Name, and kids do not share their folks' name. Alternatively, maybe, it is a successive framework, so Skin Names are given dependent on the former name and its level in the naming cycle. Every country has its Skin Names, and each name has a prefix or addition to show sex.

Issues that arise with communication

One of the fundamental issue for the lawyers to deal with the indigenous people is cultural competence. Ideally, there is no single aboriginal culture, and it would be difficult for the lawyers to become fully competent to adopt the diversified culture. One of the practical difficulty is that one of the aboriginal nations cannot be merged with another similar nation.

Communication gap is the biggest drawback because of the use of aboriginal English. It is pertinent to note that there more than five hundred aboriginal nations present in Australia, which as its unique language. Aboriginal English is a mixed phrase of English dialect that is spoken by many of the indigenous people. This is disadvantageous for the lawyers as there remain chances to misinterpret the messages provided by the client. The speech rate of the aboriginal English is also higher than the simple English that brings in more confusion of interpretation between the client and the lawyer.

An individual can speak more than eight languages. There is a high level of multi-linguism in Australia. However, the issue that may arise is English might be their second, fourth or fifth language. In such a scenario, it is not feasible to rely only on the speaking capability of the individuals for the entire court proceedings. Moreover, the words used in the aboriginal English may sound similar, but their meanings are significantly different from standard English. Considering the limited exposure of the indigenous people to the world in case their understanding of the legal procedures is not accurate, there may arise a tendency to withhold vital information from the lawyer. This inaccuracy would place the lawyer in a difficult position to represent their case adequately.

The traditional lines that had been connecting different aboriginal nations have disconnected them after the invasion by Australia. This forced disconnection had further resulted in cultural genocide. This troubling history may lead the clients unwilling to provide the necessary information. Their indigenous nature may also make them believe that the stories would not be heard. Further other factors, like not proper eye contact, can make them feel vulnerable. For a culturally bound conversation making proper eye contact is a meaningful gesture for the indigenous. While in some of the communities may not be comfortable with too much eye contact.

Role of the lawyers

In light of the difficulties mentioned above, a lawyer has a fundamental role to play a part in the life of an indigenous individual. Ideally, the lawyer must be mindful of the fact whether the communication benchmark between him and the client is satisfied. This includes the speed and other technicalities that they are likely to encounter in the court proceedings. The role of an interpreter is significant for the communication between the client and the lawyer. A lawyer needs to understand whether the client requires an interpreter or not. This can be solved by allowing the client to express fully. The client must be asked open-ended background question and be allowed to narrate their that are related to the case. A lawyer must provide a clear explanation about their role to the client before he represents them in the court. They must It is likely that the indigenous people might have a culture shock and have difficulty in adapting the surroundings of the non-indigenous legal system. Therefore, it is vital to give the indigenous people a clear picture regarding the proceedings of the court beforehand. The client or the witness must understand the purpose of their participating in regular activities. A lawyer must act in diligence and promptness while representing its client. The clients should be informed beforehand that what they hear in the court may not seem to them of any sense yet assurance should be made that later it would be translated to them to gain their trust and make them feel comfortable. There are chances of considering the gesture as rude, awkward and controversial. The clients may be not of proper health, and asking them directly or bluntly about it can make the situation worse.

The lawyer must learn some basic facts about the community of the client. The wide variety of different aboriginal kinships might have its own unique and distinct features which would not be very easy for the lawyer to understand. They can make use of the pamphlets, studies or any research made on that particular community that may be available in some resource centres. For attaining the confidence of the indigenous people, it is crucial to make them understand the entire court proceedings in the most simple language and keep a check upon their understanding. A lawyer must understand more about the health issues of the client in spite of directly asking about their issues. The lawyers must start the communication more gently by asking about the client's family health history, for instance asking whether anyone in their family has a diabetic history or where they earlier subject to physical abuse.

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