Skin Relations & Kinship


Courtesy of the former Katherine Language Centre, here is a skin relations chart with neigbouring Ngarinyman names. Wardaman are related but different. This is a non-Indigenous representation of how the skin names are related to each other.  On this chart Js are male, Ns are female. Single lines are brother/sister. Double lines are husband/wife. Arrows are mother-to-daughter or father-to-son.


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Understanding Kinship

Read more about this very sophisticated complex system of inter-relationships from the Northern Lands Council.

"Kinship has wide implications in Aboriginal life and social structure. All facets of life are influenced by it, including relations to ancestral beings, sites and land. That is to say, it is not restricted to one’s ‘family’ as might be expected by comparison with mainstream Australian norms.

In the Top End, as elsewhere, Aboriginal kin organisation has a number of fundamental elements with wide ramifications.

These are:

  • Kinship system
  • The moiety system;
  • The semi-moiety system; and
  • The skins

Each is addressed briefly below:"
Read More

Further Research 
Kinship and Skin Names    Central Lands Council
Kinship Learning Module      Online Learning module, 8 videos, Uni of Sydney

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