New PDF release: Masterpieces of painting in the Metropolitan Museum of Art

By N.Y.) Metropolitan Museum of Art (New York

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They also ate surplus horses and mules as well as wild and domestic cattle. Raiding for cattle became increasingly important as a subsistence activity as white encroachment cut off their access to traditional food-gathering areas. They would not eat bear because contact with them was considered to cause illness; peccary and turkey ate snakes and were therefore rejected as potential food sources. Fish were also excluded because their “slickness” was similar to that of a snake (Opler 1996:328–332).

Dried and stored, the baked agave provided a nutritious and delicious food that lasted for much of the year. Women of the same extended family formed a working unit. Not only did they harvest and process wild foods together, but they also cooked at the home of the senior woman, and each married woman took her share home to her husband and children. The same group shared game and helped each other in tanning and sewing hides. House construction—usually a wickiup— was a woman’s task. Working together, they erected this simple dome-shaped structure of poles and thatch.

Such good relations were essential in economic activities. Daklugie described how he came to marry Ramona, Chihuahua’s daughter, and what was expected of him in the meantime, as well as after they had been married: It was while we were at San Carlos that a very wonderful thing happened to me. My father and Chihuahua had talked over the matter a long time before telling me. They had decided that when I was old enough I was to marry Ramona, Chihuahua’s daughter. We were both very young, too young to know whether or not we wished to marry.

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