Hup People - Lineage and Clans

Lineage and Clans

The Hupda social groups are based on unilinear descent, with patrilinear clans, and dispersed in exogamic units. The term clan is being used to describe the basic unit of Hupda society. The Hupda clan does not have a very specific geographical area/location as is found with the Tukano clans. The clan is a grouping that gathers members with a common ancestor.

Within the concept of Hupda life and the dynamics of social interaction, the clan is of less importance than the local group as it is difficult to identify a local group with a specific clan. It is in the local group that the idea of brotherhood and a concept of territoriality is developed. The concept of territoriality is important to social interactions between the different local groups. The geographic area inhabited by a local group indicates the sense of belonging to a local group but not to a clan. The dabucuri celebrations ("pä’") take place between local groups and not different clans. The clans interact as "yawám", those with a common ancestor, or "kót", those directly related to each other. Within the clans sharing a common ancestor a hierarchy exists form the most senior, "ó", to the most junior, "púy". In some larger clans, like for example the "Sokw’ätnohk’ödtëh" from the middle of the Tiquié river, there are several lines of patrilinear descent while all the members consider themselves descended from a common ancestor. These relationships cannot be illustrated in their genealogies by the members of the clans.

Each clan knows a specific set of ceremonies and stories and this knowledge is shared amongst all its members. The most important ceremony a clan has is the one that gives (transmits) its name. It is generally performed by the oldest male in the clan who has a direct familial relationship with the person receiving the name or by the father's father if he is still alive.. The ritual is generally called "bi’ìd - hàt" or name of ceremony. This is a naming ritual where the name of an ancestor is changed and is given to a newborn child. The name is used in everyday life and there is no secrecy about the "bi’ìd - hàt". Each clan has a set of five to seven proper names for each sex. These names are repeated and are given in the birth order of the ancestors. This is seen in fact as the newborn child being swapped for an ancestor. When the swap is made, the child becomes a member of the clan. The first born son will be given his grandfather's name who in turn received it from his grandfather. The subsequent boys can be given the names of any younger brothers the grandfather had, in no particular order. The name, apart from legitimizing an individual as a member of a clan, defines the person's place in the hierarchy. Thus to have the "bi’ìd - hàt" is to belong to a clan. To have the name shows a right to, and a possibility of access to, all the knowledge specific to the clan as well as a set of privileges, be they social, economic or ritual. The bearer of a clan name must observe and honor all the responsibilities assigned to their clan.

There must be, in the region between the Papuri and Tiquié rivers, about 20 named clans. The clans are connected by a hierarchy and scattered across the area; there is no direct link between a clan and a territory. The hierarchy between the clans is not rigid, as can be seen amongst the Tukano. The process of splitting a clan takes place in response to reduced (natural) resources in particular areas. The clan has no property but is associated with a specific area. For example, all the members of the "Dehpuhtèh" clan came from the East, they have even said they came from Belém do Pará.

Marriages allowed within the classes of relatives include bilateral cross cousins. The exogamic unit in the Hupda social structure is the clan, patrilinear and patrilocal for preference. The terminology of the kinship of the Hupda has five distinct generations, two above and two below a generation. All the terms of kinship refer to members of the family, real or fictive. The second generation (-2) does not distinguish between affinal and cosanguine relatives. All the terms, except mother and father, refer to the real and fictive relative. The terms of kinship identify individuals according to each generation, gender, affinals and cosanguines. The most important kinship term used by the Hupda is the regulation of marriage. In other words, according to them, the preferred marriage is between fictive relatives, or in other words, bilateral cross cousins of the same generation.

Read more about this topic:  Hup People

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