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Ecuador Ethnicity & Culture
(page 7 of 9)

Saraguros
The Saraguros live in the province of Loja and also speak Quichua.

Until 1962, when a Red Cross delegation arrived, the Saraguros where completely independent from Western civilization. They lived a self-sufficient lifestyle dedicating themselves to agriculture (corn, potatoes, various grains and oca). Their main need was water for their fields which came from the rains. Their principle fuel was wood harvested from their own forests. The house where made of wood and adobe. Their clothes made from the wool of their sheep. It can be argued that the Saraguros lived in perfect harmony with their environment.

With the incursion of the missionaries, the Saraguros where subject to a process of colonization. The missionaries inoculated the locals with Western education, medicine, culture and agricultural styles. Today, Saraguros maintain their traditional dress (black poncho with wide brimmed hats), and produce artisan jewelry and clothes made of sheep wool.

Cañaris
The Cañaris have a long and interesting history. They inhabited the south of Ecuador before the Incas moved in from Peru. The Cañaris claim a civilization as large as the Reinato de Quito. They traded extensively with the coast obtaining spondylus for corn. The Cañaris had direct contact with the Incas and fought alongside them against the Spanish. The famous Incan temple Ingapirca is actually Cañari in origin. Ingapirca was the religious and administrative center for the Cañari civilization.

According to their legends, the Cañaris had their origin at a time when great natural catastrophes left two surviving brothers. These brothers arrived to the top of mount Huacayñan where they were taken care of by a species of papagayo that had the front of a woman. The brothers married these strange creatures and had three sons and three daughters from which come all of the descendants of the Cañaris.

Today, only a few remaining communities survive in southern Ecuador having been adversely affected by Western influences.

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