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ETHNONYMS: Dayerrie, Deerie, Diari, Dieyerie, Dieyrie, Diyeri, Dthee-eri, Koonarie, Kunari, Ti:ari, Urrominna, Wongkadieri, Wonkadieri

The Dieri are an Aboriginal hunting and gathering people of southern Australia's lakes region, who live on the Cooper River to the east of Lake Eyre. Their present territory is located at 139° E and 28°20 S. Their kinship system is similar in many respects to that of the Aranda, but it differs on two significant counts. First, the Dieri use a single term for both father's mother and father's mother's brother on the one hand and for mother's brother's (or father's sister's) children on the other. Second, the Dieri lack the Arandic characteristic of applying a single term to both mother's mother and mother's brother and to the mother's brother's children. Instead, the Dieri class mother's mother's brother's son's Children with direct siblings (i.e., with brothers and sisters). Within the Dieri system, marriage is preferred with the mother's mother's brother's daughter's daughter (i.e., the children of two women related to one another as cross cousins are the preferred marrying pair). Direct cross-cousin marriage, However, is considered unacceptable (though special circumstances have been invoked to void this prohibition). A male child inherits from his father a totemic relationship with a particular natural species of the area to which the father himself is attached by descent and usage. Within this area is a Totemic center with which a totemic being (mura-mura ) is associatedone of several culture heroes thought to have traveled from southwestern Queensland to the current Dieri territory. A boy learns the lore and rituals of this totemic center from his father and other elder males of his father's line. This patrilineal totemistic heritage is similar to that reported for peoples of the Western Desert region of Australia. Cross-cutting this patrilineal totemic system is one that is derived matrilineally, which appears to serve primarily to establish wife-giver and wife-taker categories but which also involves food taboos and permits a male to participate in some rituals of his mother's brother's clan. Initiation is an ongoing process for young Dieri men, culminating in a ritual known as wilyaru, which involves scarification of the initiates.

See alsoAranda


Elkin, A. P. "The Social Organization of South Australian Tribes." Oceania 2:44-73.

Radcliffe-Brown, A. R. (1930). "The Social Organization of Australian Tribes, Part I." Oceania 1:34-63.

Radcliffe-Brown, A. R. (1930). "The Social Organization of Australian Tribes, Part II." Oceania 1:322-341.