The Polahi nomadic tribe living in isolation in the forest of Indonesia’s Gorontalo province practices incest, permitting relationships between father and daughter or mother and son, a report said in Jakarta on Wednesday.
There's not a people group on the planet in which consensual incest doesn't take place. The difference is, it is usually kept in the closet these days. With this tribe, the relationships are official.
The tribe roams the thick forest of Humohulo in the Boliyohuto mountain range of Boalemo district in Gorontalo on Sulawesi island.So in addition to consanguinamory, they also have polyamory, even if only a polygynous form. I'm curious to know if any of them practice polyandry and how they treat LGBT members of the tribe.
It is considered normal if a father marries his daughter or a son marries his mother.
The former head of the tribe, Baba Manio, who died in April, had two wives, Mama Tanio and Hasimah.
Babuta, the son of Mama Tanio and Baba Manio, replaced his father. Babuta is married to his sister Lailya, who is the daughter of Baba Manio and Hasimah.
So he's married to his half-sister. This is very much like the leaders of ancient Egypt and much more recently, Hawaii, as well as many nations and people groups.
Marriage rites are also simple, with the couple taken to a river and water thrown on both of them while mantras are read out.
Kompas online quoted photographer Ebbi Vebri Adrian, who often has contact with the tribe, as saying that despite their intermarriage, the tribe did not appear to suffer from the genetic deterioration usually associated with the practice.
“What is strange is that none of their descendents appeared handicapped, as is usual with intermarriages,” he said.
It's a matter of genes, diet, and environment. If those things are all good, the children from these relationships are likely to be healthy. The communal and familial bonds are no doubt quite strong as well. I'd be interested if they know how many generations back they have been doing this, and other sociological results of their relationships. Maybe we can learn something from them, whether from a biological perspective or sociological.
In many US states and some other countries, it would be illegal for the leader of this tribe, if visiting, to have sex with his wife. If his father had visited, one, if not both of his wives would be insulted by a denial of the recognition of their marital status. That's just one of many reasons we need to adopt full marriage equality sooner rather than later.