Author Topic: Amerindians: which gender grew the crops?  (Read 1134 times)

Atash Hagmahani

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Amerindians: which gender grew the crops?
« on: July 23, 2010, 01:09:16 PM »
My guess is that among those tribes outside of the Mexican and Andean civilizations, it was probably the women, because women usually plant the crops before large-scale agriculture, while the men continue to hunt.

Is that correct?

I would guess in southern Mexico and the Andean highlands it was "equal opportunity", because they had made the transition to large-scale agriculture.

I'm asking because I might use a (respectful) depiction of an Amerindian on a logo.
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Re: Amerindians: which gender grew the crops?
« Reply #1 on: July 23, 2010, 01:26:44 PM »
Not sure, but what little I know that sounds correct. Women were the gatherers and grew the crops while the men hunted.
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Tom Wagner

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Re: Amerindians: which gender grew the crops?
« Reply #2 on: July 23, 2010, 03:42:19 PM »
This is a loaded question.  It cannot be answered without qualifications.  I like the challenge of the question because I have a triple major background in Anthropology, Botany, and Geography.  With a lifetime of breeding work with new world crops, and a reading knowledge of Spanish, it remains a valid concern as how to adapt these new world crops to modern day division of labor tactics.

I could go into my conclusions but a bit of copy/paste can do for now...
The greatest division of labor occurs in agriculture. Men are the ones who fell trees, burn them, and clear the gardens, while women are the ones who harvest the crops. Both take part in planting the gardens, a collective activity involving all the families, who also collectively divide up the produce. The crops include bitter manioc, sweet manioc, several types of sweet potatoes, yams, and certain fruits.Waimiri-Atroari Indians
Most Quechua in Peru rely on subsistence farming for their livelihood. Corn, potatoes, and grains are crops that have adapted to the high-altitude environment. Land is still farmed using the Inca method of terracing on steep slopes. This labor-intensive approach to agriculture requires a tremendous amount of time. Little time is left to devote to other economic activities.
  Old paintings  show men using the foot tools to turn the earth and women on the ground breaking up the  clods by hand.  click here to see what I am talking about.... This illustrates the division of labor in an transition from traditional farming to urban farming near a village in Peru.
Division of labour in agricultural work – One of the more interesting findings relating to the division of labour between men and women in PERU is the frequency with which tasks are shared. Primary responsibility for agricultural tasks is summarized in Table 3.3. In only two types of tasks – land preparation and pest control – do men clearly possess sole responsibility. Women are generally responsible for these tasks only when they are single, widowed, or under other special circumstances. Where the task of land preparation is shared, women help to prepare vegetable beds that cannot be done by ploughing alone. Many other tasks are more frequently shared than defined specifically as male or female roles. Although men play a stronger role in vegetable production, this does not carry through to post-harvest and marketing activities, where women clearly play a bigger part. This is because women are considered better and tougher negotiators. Women are also actively involved in caring for livestock, including feeding, health care and marketing. For some types of livestock such as poultry, women are principally responsible in almost two-thirds of all cases
Land preparation
78% by men
3%   by women
16% shared

36% by men
6% by women
55% shared

Fertilization, weeding, hilling up of soil, irrigation
30% by men
6% by women
62% shared

Pest control
87% by men
3% by women
6% shared

14% by men
5% by women
75% shared

An activity profile developed with women in Carapongo, Peru illustrated that women have to combine a large number of activities during the day when they are at home, before and after going to the field. The work at home in the evening is similar to that done in the morning, but women consider it to be heavier because at the time they are very tired. The survey found that, on average, women spend seven hours working in agriculture activities and another eight hours in household activities, whereas men spend nine hours working only in agricultural activities.
Seems …men are more likely to assume responsibility for crop production in Carapongo. Of the 125 households surveyed, men were identified as being primarily responsible for the farm in 70 percent of cases, and women in the remaining 30 percent. Of the men responsible for the farm, 38 percent lived on their own land, but less than half had a formal title. Among the 30 percent of households where women were mainly responsible for farming, the pattern was the same: although 36 percent owned their own land, only 49 percent held formal title to it.
Exactly who has access to and control over inputs for crop and livestock production was related directly to the purpose of production: either for market or for home consumption. Both men and women invest significant inputs for commercial production (i.e. cash crops and animals for sale), whereas it is mostly women who perform subsistence production (small-scale plantings of root and tuber crops, beans, green maize and herbs, along with small animals

When men work off-farm, women spend more time in the field or hire labor for the farm

In five years this surely is going to be urbanized because people will no longer want to plant vegetables. Edgard Palacios, Carapongo farmer.  A long article but I think it illustrates a blending of old and new traditions but mostly old.  Nice read. 
The Potato Park is a unique model of holistic conservation of the Andean traditional landscape with a focus on conservation of agrobiodiversity (Argumedo, 2008). The Park is located in a known microcenter of origin and diversity of potatoes, one of the world’s major food crops, which has been nurtured for centuries by the deeply rooted local food systems of Quechua peoples. The Potato Park initiative seeks to conserve the landscape and nurture the diversity of native crops, particularly of the potato, and their habitat, as well as enhance the interrelations between native crops and the physical, biotic, cultural environment, and to use such interactions to create multiple livelihood options for local people.
Bolivia…. Potatoes, the basic staple of highland Indians since pre-Inca times, has remained the most important food crop.  Corn was the second major food crop, and it provided tons of white corn, the traditional corn of Bolivia.[2] Yellow Cuban corn, however is growing in the tropical areas.

Growing new world crops for food is one thing but growing them for seed.....I don't know, the division of labor by gender is a moot point.

Tom Wagner

Tater Mater Seeds  57 years of breeding nonsense! Potatoes and Tomatoes