About the Author

My name is Santy Barrera Baidal. I’m Guancavilca from my maternal line. They come from a Comunero background in Santa Elena Peninsula, Ecuador – an ethnic identity that describes the current situation of the Guancavilca People in their collective territories. My paternal line is Indo-mestizo  – an ethnic identity that highlights their mixed-Indigenous heritage as Ecuadorians in modern society.

I spent my college years exploring my mixed-Indigenous identity through Voices of Indigenous People – a student organization that aimed to promote Indigenous cultures with its members on and off campus in Middlebury, Vermont. As Co-President of Voices of Indigenous Peoples, I continued the legacy by providing a space where Indigenous college students expressed their identity, opinions, concerns, and ideas to the community at large.

My mother shared her oral tradition of her grandparents,  relatives, and ancestors. When she was a child, her grandparents visited their village during their summer vacations, weekends, and important holidays. She remembers how her people in Data respected each others’ family territory boundaries while also acknowledging their lands as indivisible territory of the Guancavilca Nation.  Because of oral tradition and my independent research on Silvia Alvarez’s De Huancavilca a Comuneros, I was able to understand my experience as a Guancavilca descendant – removed from my Comunero experience in the communities of Palmar de Data, Playas, El Morro, Jipijapa, and San Antonio – and as an Indigenous young man living my reality in urban New York metro area. 

Silvia spent decades learning Comunero life in Chanduy, El Real Alto, Santa Elena, and other Comunas. Comuneros preserve their oral tradition, curanderismo, textile weaving, and sustain a minga system in which they practice the gift of sharing, giving, and learning from each other within the limits of their respective communities. 

Ecuadorian society did not fully recognize or respect Comunero Life on Santa Elena Peninsula till 2003 and still does not acknowledge their tribal territories. They consider them as “mestizos” because they speak Spanish and are Catholics. Ecuadorians believe Comuneros have “successfully” assimilated to the national mestizo identity, when in fact, it’s the opposite. Comuneros explain the practice of acculturating is a millennial tactic passed by their ancestors to adapt to the surrounding reality at every turn of a new era. The first group of people in Santa Elena were the Vegas. Then, the Vegas became the Valdivia, the Valdivia became the Chorrera, and so forth.

Acculturation is a strategy of Comunero life. They intentionally take on external cultural elements and incorporate them into their ethnicity as a way to advance in their technology and protect their territories. This blog will collect information about Guancavilca life, culture, tradition, and history in order to inform Indigenous and non-Indigenous communities our their heritage and stories.

Please e-mail me your questions and comments at thequindejourney@gmail.com

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4 Responses to About the Author

  1. Carlos says:

    Nice piece. I hope you keep writing. Here is a group in Facebook I recommend that you join: https://www.facebook.com/groups/396567733807307/441653829298697/?notif_t=group_comment_reply. You’ll enjoy discussing your position with Roberto Hernan Vasquez and others.

  2. Gloria says:

    Re: April 5, 2014 Article “Don’t Be Fooled: Latino = Indigenous”. I enjoyed reading your article about your indigenous roots. I have been reading on my own and observing on public television talks on this subject and I think it is long overdue that indigenous people from the Central and South American continent be recognized for their long cultural history that stretches back way before 1492–12,000 years–before the white man showed up and “tried” to erase or assimilate your ancestors with Spain and other European countries. Please keep speaking out. There are many of us that want to hear your ancestral stories and learn about your culture.

  3. I am so proud to find a young man interested in our culture. I am an indigeneous from Otavalo. Keep writing. I like what you wrote about Antonio Mocho.
    Shinami rikuchishpa katina kanchik.

  4. S. A. M. says:

    Hola, I got your site from another person who sends regular daily info. of events, new artist (on every level of the media and not media), old and new writings ect…
    I find your information very interesting and informative!
    I commend you for your profound efforts to bring your rich history to the forefront!!
    And agree that the System that’s being used needs to change. And given US as Indigenious/American Indian the choice to give our accurate status!
    Looks like we are all searching for our true self….as I see/hear more and more stories of many doing the same as you! ( make right what the Euro. did wrong to many generations) Many losing their identity, languages, and important customs!
    I’m an artist y como el dicho, soy muy sensible de todo los cosas en este mundo! Baby steps….un momento, una dia, y en buen tiempo time takes its place! That time is now! Let us Rise above the Chaos, Challenge what we can (we are here for a lil while), embrace our difference’s and UNITE as One Nation!!
    This is my mission… my purpose in life since I was little…. By nature I am curious and that gift has brought an impact in my life that says I am here to be apart of a bigger circle…to find my place just like many!
    I can feel your vibrations from where I am y como un estrella yo creo que todos pueden mirarte iluminar!!
    Also, I want you to know….that me and others like yourself have begun the transformation to include South America and Central America as part of this great movement!! We are all connected by blood and spirit!
    En eso, Mucho Bendicion and Love from the City of Portland ~ Beautiful state of Oregon!
    #MniWiconi #AguaesVida #MaunaKea

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