By Rudi Colloredo-Mansfeld
The indigenous inhabitants of the Ecuadorian Andes made enormous political profits in the course of the Nineties within the wake of a dynamic wave of neighborhood activism. The circulation renegotiated land improvement legislation, elected indigenous applicants to nationwide workplace, and effectively fought for the constitutional redefinition of Ecuador as a state of many cultures. battling Like a group argues that those striking achievements satirically grew out of the deep differences—in language, type, schooling, and location—that started to divide local society within the 1960s. Drawing on fifteen years of fieldwork, Rudi Colloredo-Mansfeld explores those variations and the conflicts they engendered in various groups. From protestors confronting the army in the course of a countrywide strike to a migrant family members combating to get a relative published from criminal, Colloredo-Mansfeld recounts dramatic occasions and personal struggles alike to illustrate how indigenous energy in Ecuador is energized by way of disagreements over values and priorities, eloquently contending that the plurality of Andean groups, now not their cohesion, has been the main to their political good fortune.
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Extra info for Fighting Like a Community: Andean Civil Society in an Era of Indian Uprisings
At a 1991 Guatemalan conference convened to unite Indian peoples from the Americas with popular classes, an Aymaran Indian from Bolivia introduced his delegation with a long prayer to Pachamama (K. Mother Earth). “By carrying on our religious tradition,” he explained, “we are resisting” (Hale 1994). 32 chapter one Binding oneself through story and deed to the soil, though, does more than affirm identity. It triggers a deep set of racial reactions. From the hacienda’s big house down to the market town’s fly-blown restaurants, mestizos have forced an endless performance of deference and respect from those stained by their labor in the earth — lowered eyes, elaborate greetings, self-humiliation (de la Torre 1999; de la Torre 2000).
Plant disease and labor activism crushed the authority of once-dominant foreign corporations, leading to the peasant takeover of one of the largest operations (Striffler 2002). Under the leadership of a reformist military government, the Ecuadorian state adopted an agrarian reform law in 1964. Debt peonage ended, and state lands in some regions passed into smallholders’ hands. Elsewhere, peasant sectors geared up to fight in the courts for territory designated as expropriable under the law —underutilized estate holdings, former common pastures illegally seized by landowners, and other tracts.
Obvious because indigenousness is fundamentally about being from some place. It is an identity bound to a people’s control of land that derives, in turn, from their status as the original people of that land (Niezen 2003, xv–xvi). And convenience alone would not induce a people to stay put, to weather the tensions of human social lives that are so closely intertwined, and to assume the responsibilities of passing down the workings and knowledge of a place. Devotion captures the weight of it, the affection and moral commitment that makes communal longevity possible.