Mohave - Economy

Subsistence and Commercial Activities. The Mohave planted maize, beans, pumpkins, and melons. The rich silt deposited on their farmlands by spring floods made crop rotation and fertilization unnecessary. The basic farming tools were a planting stick with a wedge-shaped point and a slightly curved wooden weed cutter. Fish were the primary source of animal protein in the diet and were caught with nets, weirs, and scooplike baskets. Deer, rabbits, and other animals, hunted with bow and arrow, and gathered beans, seeds, and fruits supplemented the diet. In recent times the Mohave have practiced irrigation farming and earned income from leases of their reservation lands.

Industrial Arts. Industrial arts were not well developed. They made crude willow twig sieves, scoops, and baskets for use in fishing. Coiled pots of clay tempered with sandstone were also manufactured. These were fired in open wood fires and used as water jars, cooking pots, platters, plates, and bowls. The Mohave also built crude reed rafts for crossing rivers.

Trade. The Mohave participated in an extensive trade network that brought them abalone shells from native peoples in southern California, cotton cloth from the Pueblos to the east, and deer meat from their Walapai neighbors in return for agricultural produce.

Division of Labor. Men cleared land for planting and women harvested the crops; both men and women participated in planting and cultivation. Women were also responsible for collecting wild foods, food preparation, and making baskets, and men were responsible for hunting and fishing, working skins and making skin clothing, making tools and weapons, and building houses.

Land Tenure. Farmland belonged to those who cultivated it. Land could be sold and could be appropriated if unused simply by clearing it and beginning cultivation.

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