Canelos Quichua - History and Cultural Relations

Myth, legend, archaeology, and history indicate that the Canelos Quichua migrated into their current area from the east and/or southeast. The ceramics found at Charapa Cocha, on the Río Pastaza, are identified by the Canelos Quichua as made by their ancestors and appear to be a transition from other red-banded Tupí ware to historical and contemporary Canelos Quichua pottery. While the Quichua language was penetrating the upper Napo region from the Andes through conquest, Canelos Quichua was spreading northwestward, replacing Jivaroan and Zaparoan languages. Sporadic contact with Europeans at sites along major rivers was characterized by patterns of indigenous concentration followed by indigenous dispersion. The vast areas away from the major rivers remained virtually out of the Euro-sphere of sporadic influence, although exploration by friars began as early as 1581. Since the early nineteenth century the Canelos Quichua have experienced waves of foreign intrusion and exploitation, the most recent being the Amazon rubber boom (1870-1910), exploration for petroleum (1920-1940), World War II, and the rediscovery of petroleum in the early 1970s.

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