In Ecuadorian Spanish, the word “Quinde” means “hummingbird.” It was adopted by the Kichwa word Kindi. In our culture, a hummingbird thirsts for new experiences and adventures. It’s a picaflor, a flower poker, that travels from one flower to the other symbolically representing the journey my ancestors traveled since the beginning of time.
According to Silvia Graciela Alvarez Litben’s De Huancavilca a Comunero, the Quinde family migrated to the Ecuadorian coast from the Andes in the early 1600s. They settled in Chanduy with the Guancavilcas. They adapted Western culture in the colonial reservation which contributed to their loss in Andean culture and language.
In 1650, the Quinde family founded the town of San Jacinto del Morro. They were one of the first Indigenous people to govern their land and way of life with little or no Spanish influence. The Quinde family held political positions of chiefs, council members, and elders. They also sustained an intact Indigenous identity till 1889 – when a drought hit the region.
The new migration separated the Quinde clan into different regions in Santa Elena. Some founded new towns, such as Playas Villamil (1901), Puerto El Morro (1930) and Via Data (1895). My great-great grandparents, along with other family clans like the Crespin, Baidal, Mite, Parrales, Chalen, and De La Torre, lived in Comuna Data de Villamil since immemorial times. This is where my great-grandparents lived, my grandmother was born, and my mother was raised. I had the chance to visit my ancestral land a few years year where the communal beach was for all and not for a reserved group of people.
In 1983, my mother and her sisters experienced another migration wave. Thousands of Ecuadorians left the country to search for job opportunities abroad. Even though a few of us left the Comuna, thousands of our relatives stayed behind to take care of the land and preserve their culture.
We recognize, some more than others, that our Indigenous identity ties us to a rich Guancavilca tradition that extends back to 12,000 years.
Those who left the Comuna remember Data as their original home in their hearts. Like the hummingbirds, they flutter their wings to new places, new adventures, and new experiences that this world has to offer.