Pima-Papago - Economy

Subsistence and Commercial Activities. Prior to the modern period, the No Villagers subsisted on a few highly specialized plants as well as some game animals. The Two Villagers had slightly more abundant wild plant food, better hunting opportunities, and cultivatable fields in which they grew tepary beans, maize, and squash. The One Villagers had access to fertile river flood plains which provided them with surplus crops. The Spanish brought horses, cattle, wheat, and much else to Pima-Papago awareness, but it was only with the Pax Americana that the Indians could safely cultivate those plants. Two and No Villagers then labored for the geographically better endowed One Villagers, as well as for incoming European-Americans. Since the 1960s, welfare payments and reservation service-sector jobs (working for "the town"—see above) have supplemented the older migratory day-work practice; the traditional food-getting economy is nearly extinct. In aboriginal times, only the dog was domesticated. Cattle, horses, chickens, and so on were introduced early by Europeans and remain important today.

Industrial Arts. Aboriginal crafts included pottery, basketry, and cotton weaving. Pima-Papago arts were utilitarian. Pottery was used for hauling water and cooking. Baskets were used for food storage and preparation. Iron and steel were early adopted for cutting and digging, but stone was retained into the twentieth century for pounding and grinding food-stuffs. By the 1960s, nearly all pottery and baskets were produced for sale to White-Indian traders, not for home use.

Trade. There was aboriginal trade in raw materials among the One, Two, and No Villagers, and among them and other Indian groups. No and Two Villagers exchanged their labor for the grains of the One Villagers. During the last half of the nineteenth century, the One Villagers along the Gila River enjoyed a prosperous trade with White settlers and migrants (such as journeyers to California). As White settlers diverted the river water for their own crops, the One Villagers' farming boom ceased.

Division of Labor. In all periods, men did most of the hunting, farming, and building, and women gathered wild foods and fetched water, made baskets and pottery, cooked, and cared for the young children. Native ritual and curing practices were assigned primarily to men, but women dominated the premodern folk Christian liturgies. Both sexes worked as migrant cash laborers, and both work in the Contemporary tribal service economies.

Land Tenure. Land was abundant and fields and houses were easy to make (fifty person hours for an earth-covered house, five hours for a No Villager house). There was a tendency toward patrilineal inheritance of fields and house sites and to patrilocal postmarital residence, but few people felt constrained by those tendencies. Men could reside matrilocally and people could relocate with cousins.

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