Noongar kin systems
The Western Australia an atlas of human endeavour divides Noongar classification systems into four types:
- Matrilineal moieties and matrilineal clans
- Includes Amangu, Yued, Wadjuk, Pinjareb, Wilmen, Ganeang, and Wardandi.
These groups were split between the (White Cockatoo) Manitjmat and (Australian Raven) Wardungmat moieties with the moiety determined by one's mother. Both groups are exogamous
- Patrilineal moieties and patrilineal local descent groups
- Includes Bibelmen and Mineng
These groups used the same Manitjmat and Wardunmat moieties but descent here was determined patrilineally.
- They had section levels similar to the Western Desert types, both patrilineal local descent groups
- Includes Balardong and Nyakinyaki
These groups used (Bee-eater) Birranga and (Sacred Kingfisher) Djuak as the "skin" groups.
- Like the Nyakinyaki, but they had named patrilineal "totemic" descent units.
- Includes Goreng and Wudjari
local descent groups are generally patrilineal in type, in which members are linked by both descent and through mythological ties to a named ancestor. Local descent groups are always exogamous, and are associated with specific territories held collectively in trust in perpetuity.
totemic descent groups are similar although the mythical significance of the species after whom the descent group is named is much stronger, and figures much more significantly in the myths of the people involved. Members in this case may not be genealogically related, and these groups are almost always exogamous.
- in patrilineal totemic descent clans: territory is always important
- in matrilineal totemic descent groups: territory is less important as women frequently shift from their matrilieal areas.
"moieties" classify everyone in the world into two mutually exclusive categories, which are always exogamous. Moieties may be either patrilineal or matrilineal (determined by the moiety of the father or the mother).
alternate generation levels classify a person in the same generation level with grandparents and grandchildren. Parents and children would also share the same generation level. In alternate generation levels, marriage is endogamous.
"sectional" systems (often called skin) are usually where a person belongs to one of four named groups always from birth (although "skin' may be confirred to outsiders as adults). These groups are always exogamous.
Daisy Bates stated that under the system, each Noongar was placed in same class as their mother, and no Noongar was permitted to marry someone of the same class as themselves. The classes were:
Early observers of Noongar culture were sometimes confused by aspects of this system. George Grey incorrectly referred to the class names as family names, for example. Some confusion was also caused by the fact that a Noongar might refer to any relative of the same generation and class as themselves as their brother or sister; similarly, any older woman of the same class as themselves could be referred to as their mother.
- Grey, George (1841). Journals of Two Expeditions of Discovery in North-West and Western Australia, Volume 2. London: T. and W. Boone.
- Hallam, Sylvia J. and Tilbrook, Lois (1990). Aborigines of the Southwest Region, 1829–1840 (The Bicentennial Dictionary of Western Australians, Volume VIII). Nedlands, Western Australia: University of Western Australia Press. ISBN 0-85564-296-3.
- Berndt, R.M. et al. (1979). Western Australia:An atlas of human endeavour, 1829-1979. The Education Committee WAY79, Education and Lands and Surveys Department of Western Australia.