Cinta Larga - Economy

Subsistence and Commercial Activities. The Cinta Larga are hunters. Hunting is not their main source of food, but it is central to their ceremonial life and a strong focal point of tribal reference and identification. Peccaries are the most highly prized game; however, a large variety of other animals is also hunted, including spotted cavies, monkeys, tapir, alligators, and larger birds like curassows. The Cinta Larga also fish and collect honey, grubs, Brazil nuts, and fruit. In family plots that vary from 1 to 2 hectares, they cultivate maize, manioc, potatoes, yams, and peanuts. After contact some villagers began to plant beans and rice. They practice slash-and-burn cultivation; the same tract of land is used for two or three years and then abandoned. In 1980 the Cinta Larga began to extract rubber and gather Brazil nuts with a view toward their commercialization. Monetary returns are limited owing to the isolation of the area, the difficulty of transportation, and the small-scale production.

Industrial Arts. Native handicrafts include basketry and the fashioning of bows and arrows, necklaces of tucum- palm nuts, bracelets of palm nuts and monkey teeth, feather ornaments for head and arms, hammocks, straw or jaguar-skin ornaments, flutes, mortars, spindles, perforators, resin lip ornaments, and other less important items.

Division of Labor. Male activities are hunting, fishing, felling trees and preparing the land for cultivation, constructing houses, clearing the forest in the vicinity of the village, extracting latex, and making bows, arrows, flutes, and feather ornaments. Women gather, spin cotton and tucum-palm fiber, make nets and ceramic artifacts, harvest field products, prepare meals, and make necklaces and bracelets. Men and women jointly collect honey and nuts and plant the fields.

Land Tenure. The land belongs to the residents of the village, and each family keeps one area for its own fields. Members of the same subgroup who live in other villages have free access to the land, as do affinal relations.

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