Anambé - Economy

Subsistence and Commercial Activities. The Anambé derive their subsistence from hunting, fishing, agriculture, and the gathering of wild fruits. At present they use shotguns for hunting and cotton or nylon lines with steel hooks for fishing. Occasionally, however, they still use the bow and arrow. The Anambé plant mainly bitter and sweet manioc, maize, pumpkins, bananas, beans, sugarcane, papayas, and pineapples; lately they have also been growing rice and tobacco. Fields are cleared of trees and bushes in the jungle or in secondary-growth areas using machetes or steel axes, and sickles and hoes are used for planting and harvesting. Domestic groups, as a rule, plant their fields separately. Sometimes they also clear a larger area and divide the harvest proportionately among those who participated in the work. In the preparation of meal or tapioca, fermented cassava dough is mixed with grated manioc. In this process the Anambé use mortars and pestles, plaited cylindrical manioc presses ( tipitis ), troughs from old canoes, graters made from tin cans, and ovens made from steel drums. The Anambé stopped making manioc beer ( caxiri ) a long time ago.

Besides the extractive products previously mentioned (timber, latex, and resins), the Anambé also sell surplus products, as well as the hogs, ducks, and chickens they raise. Until the end of the 1960s all Anambé commercial dealings were with a single dealer. Soon thereafter they began selling their products to traders and some moved to the city of Mocajuba, where they could sell their products for cash and for higher prices than those offered by traders or local bosses, from whom they generally did not receive cash. The Anambé acquire items such as clothes, shoes, salt, sugar, coffee, tobacco, matches, shotguns, nets, lead sinkers, gunpowder, and fishhooks and fishing lines from stores.

Industrial Arts. The Anambé make straw carrying baskets, fans, and plaited straw sieves, as well as small plaited and coiled baskets in which to keep odds and ends. Plaited manioc presses, which are arduous to make, are bought from stores in the region. The Anambé no longer make pottery; they prepare their food in earthen ovens, on open fires, and over metal grates using metal pots. From wood, in addition to bows and arrows, they make mortars, pestles, and spindles. The small canoes that the Anambé use are bought from Brazilian caboclos. Although the Anambé still spin cotton, they do not now make hammocks, instead purchasing them from the regional market. They no longer have any knowledge of featherworking.

Division of Labor. The men hunt, fish, make wooden items and baskets, and clear fields. Planting is a mixed activity, but harvesting is mainly done by women. Both men and women carry burdens and collect wild fruit.

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