Canela - Economy

Subsistence and Commercial Activities. Principal economic activities, varying over the decades, have been gathering and producing food; working with backland families; manufacturing and selling artifacts; earning and sharing Indian-service salaries; receiving Indian-service iron implements, cloth, and medicine; and obtaining farmers' federal retirement benefits. Aboriginally, the Canela relied only about 25 percent on horticulture, but now about 75 percent. Some aboriginal staples were sweet potatoes, yams, squash, peanuts, maize, and mildly bitter manioc. Today's staples are the backlanders' bitter manioc, dry-field rice, and beans. Soils are only sufficiently rich to raise crops in the "gallery" forests along stream edges after yearly slashand-burn preparation of a new field. Most Canela raise some pigs and chickens for their families; cattle were introduced only in the mid-to late twentieth century.

Trade, Trade among aboriginal Timbira tribes was slight, because they were largely self-sufficient.

Division of Labor. Men prepare the fenced fields, but both sexes plant and weed. Aboriginally, women gathered fruits, nuts, and roots, whereas men hunted and fished. Today, women harvest the crops except for rice, which everyone gathers. Women fetch water and firewood; they cook, raise children, and clean houses, but men construct them. Either sex will do any work when necessary.

Land Tenure. The tribe owns all land, but fields and fruit trees planted by families are theirs until the shrubbery has grown tall years later.

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