1. Kinship Organization Thao society is a patrilineal society. Intermarriages between clans were observed. In early days, they usually married within the same clan. In recent years, marriage across clans is becoming increasingly popular. In addition to being a marriage unit, the clan is also a kinship unit. In general, a clan is formed by people carrying the same family name. They are usually members of different worship groups playing different roles in rituals. The Thao people adopted seven Han surnames: Shinawanan, Shkatafatu, Shkapamumu, Shkahihian, Shtamarutaw, Shapit, and Shtanakjunan. Each is a transliteration or translation of the corresponding Thao surname in the Thao language. For example, Shinawanan means circular, and they picked a character with the same sound as “circle” in Mandarin Chinese; Shkapamumu means strong, and they picked the declination “mumu” and transliterated it in Mandarin Chinese.
2. Ita Thao Organization The Thao people still maintains a dual-chief system. Today, it is the Shinawanan and Shkatafatu families. The chiefdom is inherited, and a chief helps settle disputes among people and implement the resolutions made by the community meeting and the elder council. In annual ceremonies, the chief is the ritual master.