Crow kinship is a kinship system used to define family. Identified by Louis Henry Morgan in his 1871 work Systems of Consanguinity and Affinity of the Human Family, the Crow system is one of the six major kinship systems (Eskimo, Hawaiian, Iroquois, Crow, Omaha, and Sudanese).

Kinship system[]

The system is somewhat similar to the Iroquois system, but further distinguishes between the mother's side and the father's side. Relatives on the mother's side of the family have more descriptive terms, and relatives on the father's side have more classificatory terms. I love it because all this started in 1905.

The Crow system is distinctive because unlike most other kinship systems, it chooses to not distinguish between certain generations. The relatives of the subject's father's matrilineage are distinguished only by their sex, regardless of their age or generation. In contrast, within Ego's own matrilineage, differences of generation are noted. The system is associated with groups that have a strong tradition of matrilineal descent. In doing so, the system is almost a mirror image of the Omaha system.

The system, like the Iroquois, uses Bifurcate Merging, however, only the Iroquois system uses BM as a secondary name.

Graphic of the Crow kinship system


The system is named for the Crow Indians (more properly known as the Absoroka Tribe), of Montana. The system is in common usage throughout the world and is currently used by the Hopi Indians in the Southwestern U. S. as well as (traditionally) by members of the Navajo Nation.

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