A Better Understanding of Ecuador's Indigenous Groups

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					When you take Spanish classes in Quito, immersing yourself in the
country's culture, food and residents is a big part of the overall
experience. Before you attend language school in Ecuador, be sure to
learn about the indigenous people, as 25% of the country's total
population is of indigenous heritage. Further, 65% of the people who live
in Ecuador are of mixed indigenous and European ancestry. The high
percentage of indigenous people is rare, and it is one of the things that
makes this country unique.The term "indigenous people" refers
to those who lived in the region when the Europeans arrived in South
America as well as their descendants. Archaeologists have designated 5
time periods view prehistoric Ecuador. In sequence from the earliest to
the most recent, these include the Lithic, Archaic, Formative, Regional
Development and Integration.A great deal of time has been spent seeking
to understand the history of the country's indigenous groups to learn
more about their civilizations. Artifacts have been found in Ecuador that
are from the "pre-ceramic" times, which dates back about 11,000
years. These findings also show that the people were hunters and
gatherers. Most of the artifacts have been found in the Andean region and
back to 9750 BP.The Paleo-Indians depended upon large game for survival,
but by the end of the Ice Age, many of these animals were extinct. This
includes the giant sloth and mammoth. As a result, farming became more
prevalent and there were changes in the region's culture. New tools, new
burial practices and more art became integral to society.Archaeologists
have learned a great deal about the agricultural practices of the ancient
indigenous people. For example, one interesting early civilization was
the Valdivia culture, which had a significant impact on Amerindian
civilization throughout the continent. These people cultivated crops like
cotton, maize, and water plantains. According to some experts, mate and
coca crops were also harvested.Before the Incan invasion, there was a
great deal of diversity and complexity among indigenous people in
Ecuador. However, the Incans language and culture took over many of these
cultures when their reign began. The conquest of this region began in
1463. Yet, much of the indigenous culture remains intact to this day.One
interesting topic of debate that you may learn more about when you attend
Spanish classes in Quito is exactly how many indigenous people currently
live in Ecuador. For example, the indigenous population numbers fewer
than 2 million according to former president Leon Febres Cordero.
Additionally, various historians, including Enrique Ayala Mora concludes
that there is a population of no more than 16% of the country.On the
other hands, various other organizations like the Confederation of
Indigenous Nationalities of Ecuador say that the indigenous population is
more like 4 million. Begun in 1986, this political group is the largest
indigenous organization in Ecuador. They strive for social change using
direct action tactics.If you want to visit indigenous people while you
attend language school in Ecuador, about 96.4% of them live in the Sierra
region valleys. This group is mostly made up of people who descended from
the Incans. However, regardless of where you go in Ecuador, you will
likely meet and interact with indigenous people, as they make up such a
high percentage of the country's population.

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