Comuna Sacachun re-integrates Wankavilka marriage ceremonies as a collective effort to recuperate and rescue Indigenous culture, tradition, and ritual in their community. The bride and groom dress in Wankavilka clothing (Deer skirts, Paja de Toquilla hats, and Jaguar shawls) and make a respectful pact with San Biritute and Pachamama to ask for the blessings of their ancestors, relatives, and spirit animals. In 2013, comuneros throughout Santa Elena Peninsula are quickly recuperating their Wankavilka culture as an attempt to push for national recognition of their Indigenous sovereignty in the Ecuadorian coast. Like fire, their collective effort is an unstoppable force that inspire other ethnic communities to push for national recognition as well.
Click here to view Wankavilka Marriage Ceremony in Sacachun, Ecuador.
In other news, a couple of months ago, comuneros in Santa Elena discovered two totem poles in their ancestral land. They stumbled on pre-Columbian artifacts in a nearby comuna forest. Thanks to the installation of the new museum in Santa Elena Province, the comuneros confidently turned in the artifacts for further investigation. Once examined, the comuneros will take the totem poles back to their community and install them in the community square. Like Sacachun, the community will begin a reclamation process of re-integrating Wankavilka rituals, prayers, and traditions in the new generations to come.
I am happy to see that our Wankavilka culture, tradition, and rituals are re-incorporated in my generation as an act of resistance to Neo-colonialism in the 21st century. This year, Silvia Graciela Alvarez Litben, anthropologist and writer of De Huancavilca a Comunero, took another step in her investigation by compiling an official record of 285+ Indigenous surnames that trace back to the original Wankavilka names since the seventeenth century – a time when reservation camps were created to isolate, control, and reduce the Indigenous population. The list of names demonstrates that comuneros are the legitimate heirs and descendants of Wankavilka culture, tradition, language, and ancestral territory. From one generation to the next, my maternal line consists of these names, too. These efforts will hopefully push for national recognition and respect for the Wankavilka Tribal Nation in 2013.