Endenese - Economy



Subsistence and Commercial Activities. The Endenese are mostly slash-and-burn agriculturalists. Wet-rice fields are not popular in the area because of the shortage of water. Generally speaking, the staple is a combination of cassava ( 'uwi 'ai ), rice ('aré), and maize ( jawa ). The most important cash crop has been coconut ( nio ). Livestock is reared only for consumption and gift exchange. Households have an average of three pigs, and some chickens. The goat population is much smaller than the pig population. Only a few households in a village have cattle, horses, or water buffalo.

Division of Labor. There is no clearcut division of labor between sexes except that men tend to do work that needs more physical strength, such as cutting trees. Everyday cooking is done by women. On ceremonial occasions men cook meats and women cook rice.

Trade. People on the southern part of the island sometimes go to the northern coast to get cheap salt. A few people descend to a coastal village to buy fish to sell in their mountain villages. Except for these sporadic trading activities, the mountain Endenese do not engage in much commerce.

Land Tenure. Each ritual community, tana, whose members are supposed to have originated in an ancient village and be patrilineally related, has ritual rights over the land named after that community. These rights express themselves in a ritual called the "yam ritual" ( nggua 'uwi ), which marks the beginning and end of certain prohibitions concerning agricultural activities. Individual land tenure is also recognized by the inhabitants, based on the ritual transference of a parcel of land from wife giver to wife taker, especially from mother's brother to his sister's child. This institution is known as pati weta ti'i 'ané , "giving to a sister, offering to a sister's son."


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