Canela - Settlements

Ideally, the Canela live in one village, although schisms have occurred (1903-1913, 1935-1936, and 1957-1968), largely because of the ambitions of potential chiefs. Besides the principal village of fifty-two houses in 1970, from the late 1950s through the mid-1980s five to fourteen different farm settlements have existed at the same time, some up to 30 kilometers away. They consist partly of sisters, "sisters" (parallel cousins), and their daughters with their adjacent farms and partly of unrelated families. A settlement's leader, as a potential chief, gains some unrelated adherents, unlike "uncles" leading sets of village-circle matrilines that remain fixed in leaderless longhouses for many generations. Small circular settlements of five to fifteen huts are built near the farms along streams. All women old enough to have children should maintain separate farms. When a Canela village grows to more than about 500 people and about sixty houses, the palm-straw houses (and some mud-and-wattle ones) stand so close in some sectors that new houses have to be placed behind old ones, slowly forming an outer circle. By 1979 Escalvado's second circle was half completed.

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