A matriline is a line of descent from a female ancestor to a descendant (of either sex) in which the individuals in all intervening generations are female. In a matrilineal descent system (= uterine descent), an individual is considered to belong to the same descent group as his or her mother. There is interesting case right now regarding this unique culture only and only applied by Minangkabau ethnic in sumatra and Negeri Sembilan in Malaysia. Matrlileneal folk in sumatra are pride person and have very tolerant mind.

The Importance of Clan in Minangkabau
Suku (meaning : clan or tribes) or matriclan is the main unit of Minangkabau social structure and one can not be viewed as the Minangkabau if he does not have a tribe. Tribe exogamis nature, except when no longer able traced family relationship between the two namesake tribe in the village but there are different. Because people from the same tribe usually occupy the same location, the tribe could mean genealogical and territorial, whereas without kampuang (meaning “villages”) linked to one particular tribe only meant merely territorial.

Each tribe minang usually consists of several “paruik” (meaning “family”) and headed by kapalo paruik or tungganai (meaning “leader of several family”). “Paruik” can be subdivided into “jurai” and “jurai” is also divided into samande (meaning “single mother”). The way in Minangkabau ethnic division as such may differ from one region to another. “Jurai” is a vague term which may indicate similarities alone or affinity consanguinealitas groups below or above the level “paruik”. “Samande”, by contrast, hardly viewed as a stand-alone unit because two or three may be the same samande inhabit one house and each has a property other fixtures, while all the things that are important in the circle of life (life cycle) can not be solved by the members of the same samande (which is usually centered around a grandmother), but must be submitted to paruik.

Members of the same “paruik” (meaning “same family”) usually have community property (harato pusako), such as joint land, including fields, houses and the large sieve with pandam cemetery. Because ‘paruik’ developing, he may split itself into two paruik or more, though still in a single tribe. And with the growing interest he may also be divided into two or more new, related tribe.

Family Structure in Matrilineal System
In a matrilineal descent system / matriahat in Minangkabau, the father is not a member of the lineage of his children. He is considered a guest and treated as guests in the family, which aim primarily to give offspring. He called samando or urang samando. Is a legitimate place in the line of his mother in which he serves as a member of the family in the male-line descendants of that. By tradition, at least, their responsibility to be there. He is a trustee of the line-protective of their offspring and lineage property that even if he had to restrain herself from enjoying the fruit of the ground by his people because he was not able to claim part of anything for herself. Nor was he given a place at the home of her parents (maternal / matrilineal) beacause for all booths reserved for female family members, namely to accept their husbands at night. The position of men who are that motivates shaky Minang men to wander (merantau).

Men usually make a living by going to the market to traders, or working as a carpenter, a plow in the field, tailors, shop owners, office workers, and so on. He worked in the fields of line-offspring or descendants of his wife-line only in passing, if nothing else will do.

If he decided to cultivate the land from the lineage of his mother to get some results, he is usually doing so as a “penyedua’ (meaning : employee profit-sharing), where he received only part of the results, while the other part devoted to the outline of the actual female offspring became the owner of the land.

Marriage, therefore, does not create a new nuclear family (nuclear family), because the husband or wife respectively remain members of their lineage respectively. Therefore the notion of nuclear family consisting of mother, father and children as a separate unit is not in Minangkabau social structure because he always protected by a system of matrilineal descent is more powerful. As a result, children are counted as members of maternal lineage and are always attached themselves more to the mother and other members of that lineage. A weak bond to the father is even more obvious when the man with polygamy, in which he turns to visit his wife, and more rarely meet with their children. Ties were added decreased again when divorce occurs, in which he rarely met with his children.

Since a lot of Indonesian right now imitate the use of single last name in family as what valid in western culture that’s also happened in minangkabau family. If it happened we confront the name of someone from minangkabau let’s say ikhlas guci, sometimes it does not mean he is from suku (clan) guci, because it might be his father name is agus guci, he just adopt his father last name to be used in his last name as it is becoming trend in indonesian right now to use same last name. But his suku/clan might not be guci but something else such as chaniago how come? Because his mother is chanigo, remember in matrilineal culture suku/clan come from mother side, then of course agus guci can marry the girl from suku guci because the guci on agus name is just the last name not the suku/clan.