Matrilineal ‘Skin Lore’ of the Yoocum Yoocum

The Ngarakbal [Nganduwal] Moiety are the Eastern bloc of the ‘Yoocum – Yoocum’ dialect groups – …. Their ancestral territory spans from Byron Bay to Nerang [Ngarang] and takes in the full sweep of the Wollumbin caldera ….they are the ancientCarpet Snake Clans, the Traditional Owner Custodians of the Wollumbin Volcano which includes the iconic Mt Warning that Captain James Cook named in 1770. 

347 An Aboriginal Woman

To the Ngarakbal & Githabal Moiety members their central mountain Wollumbin has many totemic names.  As the central significant mythological site within their Ancestral ESTATE their entire totemic lore revolves around this sacred place, but at the same time this lore travels – following the path of the creator spirits across the continent …..these pathways are part of their Starlore.

A Moiety is an anthropological term to describe a cultural block of four ancestral marriage groups….Males remain within their ancestral area of  birth throughout their life, but the women marry into the opposite group….For the Ngarakbal on the east, their opposite group is the Githabal on the west…this ancient system of matrilineal marriage lore – SKIN LORE – ensures the health, strength and purity of the ‘bloodlines’ of  it’s people….and this is why marriage lore is so strictly adhered too.

The ‘Beereen’ Cultural Bloc

The Beereen [Birin, or Birrain] cultural bloc comprises four principal groups –

Being the;

Yugambeh[Jukambe]  the Northwest, around Ipswich and as far south as Canungra and Beadesert and east as far as Oxley

Githabul [Kitabal] to the west – including Main Range

Widjabal[Wadjie]to the South, south west – Bundjalung Tribe [proper]…not Nation, but Tribe

Ngarakbal[jergarbal –‘Kawul’ the carpet snake people] to the east – to the ‘boorgoor’ [the sea].

The opposing directions, North, South, East and West make up the two  marriage clan’s within the traditional totemic ‘Skin’ groups…..Ngarakbal and Githabal….and,  Yugambeh and Widjabal.

Within kinship exists the subsection system divides the entire population into named categories called ‘skins’….hence ‘Skin’ groups.

This Skin system provides a sort of short hand reference to the complex system of kinship and marriage and the appropriate behaviour for certain categories of kin.  A person is born into their Skin group and thus in addition to a personal name, shares with other relatives who are similarly classified, a ‘skin’ name

The Ngarakbal and Githabal draw on their intimate knowledge of family, personal life history, ceremonial status and relation to land…..In order to understand the different sorts of ties one needs to understand the kinship relations to each other and country

Thus, this Kinship Lore & descent system of the totemic ‘Skin’ lore which governs their lives is also the same system that connects them to their ancestral country…and it permeates through their cultural ritual roles of increase or fertility under the Lore’s of the Feathered Serpent Moieties …Matrilineal ….RAINBOW SERPENT LORE…..But, more on that later.

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