Human Ecology

, Volume 15, Issue 2, pp 163-187

Early dry season subsistence ecology of Cuiva (Hiwi) foragers of Venezuela

  • A. Magdalena HurtadoAffiliated withDepartment of Anthropology, University of UtahDepto de Antropologia, Instituto Venezolano de Investigaciones Cientificas
  • , Kim R. HillAffiliated withDepartment of Anthropology, University of Utah

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The subsistence ecology of Venezuelan Cuiva foragers during the early dry season is described. Data on diet, time allocation, demography, and physical measurements are presented. Analyses show that the Cuiva depend primarily on game and wild roots during the early dry season for their subsistence. Sex differentials in productive efficiency, total contribution to the diet, and time allocation to food acquisition and other activities are also examined. As in most other foraging societies, men specialize in hunting while women specialize in gathering. During the early dry season, men provide more calories than women and are the more efficient food producers. However, men spend slightly less time than women in food acquisition. Demographic data show that child mortality rates, female infertility rates, female infanticide rates,and the sex ratio among juveniles are high in the Cuiva population. Comparisons between the patterns found among the Cuiva and other foraging populations are made.

Key words

hunter-gatherers time allocation the sexual division of labor demography