Batchelor Institute » 111th Annual Meeting of the AAA (American Anthropology Association) San Francisco, CA, November, 2012
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Date:December 21, 2012

111th Annual Meeting of the AAA (American Anthropology Association) San Francisco, CA, November, 2012

Jeanie Bell attended this conference to co-present on Section Systems (often referred to as ‘skin names’) of Queensland with one of her ANU PhD supervisors Dr Patrick McConvell, an anthropological linguist.

Jeanie’s focus was on the section systems of the Gubbi Gubbi, Badjala and Wakka Wakka groups of south-east Queensland who all share a similar type of system widely known as Dravidian, which was traditionally used to regulate marriage choice both within and between these tribes. Jeanie’s connections to these groups are via descent and marriage through both her Mother and Father. While the section systems are not widely used today by living descendants they were documented in some detail by earlier ethnographers such as John Mathew (1910) who spoke the Gubbi Gubbi language and observed many cultural practices from this region.

As part of her PhD Jeanie is conducting interviews with older Aboriginal people from SEQ in order to gain an insight into what they remember of the kinship and marriage system and how they may be using aspects of the system today such as referring to their own and their sisters’ grandchildren as ‘grannies’ while the grandchildren in return refer to all the sister mothers as ‘granny or nanna’, which is a common feature of the Dravidian kinship system. Jeanie is also working with a few Warumungu women to establish how widely this type of information is still being used by different generations from the Tennant Creek region.