Andes Overland

Cultural Survival in Ecuador

Indigenous communities & tribes, they still exist. It is not a set play to please the viewer or visitor. It represents the lives of many. Living in a secluded area, reflecting the historical culture of a country by holding on to, what seems to most of us, as somewhat odd traditions and habits. A given, which calls for balance and cooperation between the tribes and a countries government within the social, environmental and economic sectors.

Ecuador is a country where indigenous communities have been engaged in transnational development networks for over a decade. Unfortunately research revealed that the high poverty and income in equality seem to most affect indigenous populations. Moreover fraction emerged between the government and the inhabitants due to the lack of balance between tourism, sustainability and the welfare of the indigenous tribes.

Ecuador is recognized as a pluri – ethnic nation which is defined as the coexistence of two or more preserved national groups within a polity.
The 2010 census includes 14 indigenous tribes making up for 7.2%. According to their information about 96% of the indigenous population belongs to the highland Quichuas living in the valleys of the Sierra region, while only 0,24% of the population represents the Coastal group. The remaining 4 % live in the Oriente. However there is a large difference noticeable between the official figures and the NGO estimates. The differences arise from the difficulty in classification of indigenous people, particularly of those who have intermarried with non – indigenous people or those who live in urban areas.

The fact that Ecuador is recognized by the “plurinational” concept includes the idea that this needs to be reflected in all public policies such as education, health, housing and local government. However the tribes indicate that they’re not necessarily benefiting from these policies or from tourism while meanwhile the government is drilling oil in ancestral territories from indigenous communities whose subsistence and culture strongly depends on the preservation of these ancestral territories.

If the balance will not be restored, this could have serious consequences and affect the tourism industry in the Amazon greatly.