Ailo (Zyanya Supplement)

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Zyanya


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The name 'Ailo' translates to 'people of the dawn'.

The Ailo are an agricultural people who would normally locate their villages on the shore of a river or stream. Main crops were maize, beans and squash. The produce of the field is augmented with fishing, hunting and the gathering of wild foods, such as wild rice. Berries, nuts, mushrooms, maple syrup, and a variety of medicinal plants are among the wild plant foods exploited by the tribe.

The Ailo live in isolated villages, mainly consisting of extended families. During the winter they roam their hunting grounds, which are inherited through the father ( the Ailo being a patrilineal society). In the Spring the people emerge from the forest to regroup at set locations, invariably near a river. Here they plant their crops and fish. The average summer village consists of about one hundred people. For dwellings, the Ailo prefer to make use of the dome shaped wigwam which was covered in elm bark. The birch-bark canoe is in general use for transportation.

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The Ailo do not have a central governing authority. Rather each sub tribe is relatively autonomous. Important decisions regarding such things as warfare are made after a meeting with all of the adults in the village and a consensus being reached. Still, however, it is basically each man for himself. This lack of unity actually often proves to be a good thing for the Ailo. It enables them to scatter and disappear away into the woods when they were outnumbered.

In order to cement relations between bands and with other tribes, the Ailo engage in a form of institutionalized comradeship that united two men for life in ritual brotherhood.

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