Craho - Economy

Subsistence and Commercial Activities. Subsistence slash-and-burn agriculture dominates the Craho economy; rice and manioc (both sweet and bitter) are the main staples. In the past maize and sweet potatoes were very important. Today, they are quantitatively as unimportant as beans and yams. Some plants, such as peanuts and the edible kupá (Cissus sp.) liana, have been almost abandoned. Meat is an extremely valued food, but large game animals are almost extinct. Fishing, with hook and line or poison, is not important. Wild fruits, such as buriti (Mauritia vinifera), bacaba (Oenocarpus sp.), and even the domesticated species that remain at abandoned cattle ranches, such as mangoes and oranges, are important sources of food. Domestic animals include chickens, pigs, and cattle, but they are not raised in large numbers. The Craho earn some cash by working for rural and urban Whites in the harvesting or husking of rice and hoeing out grass from the streets and the local airstrip.

Industrial Arts The principal artifact industry is basketry: various forms of baskets, mats, and headbands are woven. But there are no specialists, and this work is done mainly to satisfy domestic needs. The Craho have no pottery or metalwork. Some Western industrial items, such as cloth, beads, and Roman Catholic medals are reworked to fit their own style.

Trade. Trade with other Indian societies is nonexistent and with Westerners is insignificant. The Craho sell artifacts to the shops maintained by the Brazilian National Indian Foundation (Fundação Nacional do Índio, FUNAI) for that purpose. Occasionally, they buy manioc from regional Whites; they also buy cloth, salt, tobacco, ammunition, guns, pots and pans, knives, hoes, axes, and other industrial products from local White merchants. But the most expensive items are acquired as gifts during their long trips to big cities, which the Craho use to meet their marriage obligations.

Division of Labor. Division of labor is only by sex. Men hunt, fish, collect wild honey, clear wooded areas for new gardens, build houses, and make sleeping mats, certain kinds of baskets, bows and arrows, racing logs, and various kinds of cotton bands. Women cook, care for children, bring water from streams, collect wild fruits, and do agricultural work together with the men. There are some parttime specialists, such as headmen, some ritual directors, and medicine men.

Land Tenure. Land is owned collectively, perhaps by each village. The plot used by an elementary family for cultivation reverts to common ownership after all its produce has been harvested.

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