Pilagá, Pit´laxá, Pitelaga, Qom.
Is one of the Argentine indigenous groups.
Language: Pitelaga laqtak of the Guaykuru family.
Habitat: Traditionally the Pilagá territory was in the central area of what is now the Argentine province of Formosa, about 20,000 square kilometers on the right bank of the Pilcomayo River.
For the erection of the villages, three conditions are taken into account mainly 1) the proximity of drinking water; 2nd) the abundance of fishing or hunting in the place; 3rd) security, the latter is obtained by looking for places where visibility is poor.
These settlements were not permanent, families were heading towards the river in winter and towards the mountain in summer. The flow of the Pilcomayo marked the movements of the community, when it grew (from July to September) and bathed the adjacent lands, they retired to higher places a few days of walking, the pilagás of the bathed ones also moved towards the mountain in search of fruits.
From April, the Pilcomayo groups returned to the banks of the river and those from the interior began their transfer to the coast, often having to negotiate with the riverside their installation in certain hunting sites. Seasonal marches were characterized by the burning of the camps when abandoned.
They had a subsistence economy focused on fishing, gathering and hunting. In addition to fishing, the men carried out the extraction of honey, and the capture of quirquinchos, suris, peccary and iguanas. The women collecting chajá eggs, fruits such as water potatoes and chaguar leaves, also wove handicrafts with carandillo leaves (a kind of palm tree) and with fibers obtained from the hard and thorny leaves of chaguar.
The minimum social unit was made up of large families. They were exogámicas with matrilocal residence, the new marriages were integrated to the wife’s village, and initially in her extended family, until the marriage becomes a family and can build her own home, although always in the village of the woman . The bands were formed by alliances between the heads of each extended family to nominate.
Fishing was traditionally a male activity developed between April and June or July.
One method consisted of harpoon fishing, a 5-meter long rod, at the end of which was attached a rod on which the tip of the harpoon rested loosely, made from the sharp end of a beef body. This tip was attached to the fisherman’s hand by means of a rope that ran along the stick. Once the device was launched against the prey, the harpoon penetrated the meat of the fish and detached itself from the stick. The fisherman let the rope in his hand unwind and then attracted the dam with brief jerks.
There was also fishing with nets: the “scissors” net, with a frame formed by two sticks tied at one end and the “bag” net, mounted on a frame of two flexible rods tied at both ends.
The origin of the families.
The grandmothers tell that women originally lived in heaven. They were the stars. From time to time they went down to the ground to steal the food of men, when they were going to hunt and fish. In order not to steal their food, the men put guards.
When the women-stars came down from the sky, they did it for a long rope. One day one of the guards discovered them and cut the rope. The women who were above the point of the cut are today the stars of the sky. Those who were below, were the women who formed the Pilagá families, and who taught to sow corn, watermelon, melon and other fruits.