Friday, June 17, 2005

The Minangkabau - a matrilineal culture

The Minangkabau ethnic group is indigenous to the highlands of West Sumatra, in Indonesia.

According to
wikipedia their culture is matrilineal, with property and land passing down from mother to daughter. Religious and political affairs however are the province of men!

Now that makes real sense to me.

Think about it. If you were creating your own society and you had to choose whether to base inheritance on masculine or feminine progeny (and you wanted a system with the least likelihood of arguments and difficulty), would you choose to try and identify the offspring of men or of women?

No, no, no - this woman is my mother not that woman!
Oops I made a mistake - actually I gave birth to that child but never realised it!
I don't think so!

We have adopted an old joke in the area where I live.

How do you define confusion?

Fathers day
in Mullumbimby.

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