Kaiingas - Economy



Subsistence and Commercial Activities. Subsistence is based on a rice staple raised both in permanent irrigated rice terraces and in swiddens. In addition to rice, a variety of tubers, legumes, and vegetables is grown in the swiddens. Maize, sugarcane, tobacco, and coffee are also raised. The meat of domesticated pigs and water buffalo supplies most of the animal protein, though in the heavily forested areas a variety of wildlife, such as deer, wild pigs, bats, lizards, and birds, is hunted.

Industrial Arts. Many people engage in craft work, particularly in the manufacture of wood utensils and tools. Ironworking, basketry, and pottery making are also widespread.

Trade. Traditionally trade was quite limited because of the fear of losing one's head, but the pacification activities of the American administration led to the opening of trade routes. Traditional trade was carried out under the aegis of the pacts that the nearly sovereign territorial units set up independently with each other, and was largely controlled by regional elites. Open-air markets such as exist in the lowlands are unknown, and trade is conducted between households.

Division of Labor. Although more egalitarian than most Southeast Asian groups and certainly more egalitarian than modern Western societies, the Kalingas are nevertheless patriarchal. In general, men do the strenuous, brief work, such as clearing the forest, building fences, and plowing, and women do the time-consuming, boring work, such as planting, weeding, and harvesting. Women do, however, inherit important political offices, such as interregional pact stewardships, and they are the shamans. In addition, women are responsible for the formation of the reciprocal work groups upon which the success of individual households depends.

Land Tenure. Along with family heirlooms—generally ancient Chinese beads, jars, plates, and gongs—irrigated rice terraces, house sites, and livestock are the most valued property. Landlessness was nonexistent in the past and is still very rare. Only user rights are recognized for swidden plots, and most regions still have communal land.

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