Author Archives: Dustin C

Inti Raymi: Reciprocity and Anti-Colonial Symbolism

Posted by Dusty Christensen – MA Candidate at CLACS / Global Journalism at NYU

Christensen – Ecuador – IntiRaymi

Inti Raymi festivities in the village of San Roque (Photo by Dustin Christensen)

For many indigenous residents of the Andes, the Inti Raymi festival is one of the most important celebrations of the year. Celebrating the summer solstice, this festival has its origins firmly rooted in pre-Colombian times. In Cotacachi, Ecuador, where I conducted my summer research, this was the most important festival of the year. Members of the 40 something indigenous communities surrounding Cotacachi dance house-to-house in the nights preceding the festival. Then, for several days, they gather and dance down to the town’s central plaza, where they dance, sing, play music, drink, and occasionally engage in violent confrontations with other communities.

Continue reading

Communal Workdays in the Andes

Posted by Dusty Christensen – MA Candidate at CLACS / Global Journalism at NYU

Christensen_ Ecuador_minga

Kichwa men in the village of Turuku digging a ditch for a water pipe as part of a communal work day known as a minga. (Photo by Dusty Christensen)

Early in the morning, before the daily summer winds start to howl, the music comes blaring out of the church loudspeaker. The guitars, charangos and flutes carry across the village of Turuku, waking everyone who wasn’t already out in the fields. Though the announcement won’t come for another hour, everyone knows what the wake-up call is for — today is a communal work day.

Christensen_Ecuador_Alberto

Alberto Anrango, the president of the indigenous village of Turuku, announcing the minga over the village loudspeakers. (Photo by Dusty Christensen)

At 7 o’clock — an hour after the music has started — community President Alberto Anrango pics up the mic and begins his impromptu speech. “Ladies and gentlemen,” he begins in Kichwa, his voice crackling over the old speakers mounted on top of the chapel roof. “Don’t forget that today is the minga.” He urges everyone to bring pickaxes and shovels, and warns that those skipping today will be fined by the village government.

Continue reading