Canelos Quichua - Settlements

Historically, the Canelos Quichua lived in dispersed residential patterns and aggregated in refuge areas during times of upheaval. Such refuge zones probably attracted the first Catholic friars, who established missions there and visited them sporadically. The emergence of a formative culture occurred 200 to 300 years ago and radiated out of such riverine sites as Puyo, on the Puyo-Pindo rivers, and Canelos, Pacayacu, Sarayacu, Teresa Mama, and Montalvo, on the Río Bobonaza, spreading north from the Bobonaza to the Curaray and Villano rivers. Today the largest population concentration, with perhaps 3,000 people divided into twenty-two hamlets, is on the Comuna San Jacinto del Pindo, south of Puyo. The settlements of Canelos, Pacayaca, Sarayacu, and Curaray have the next largest populations. Kindred segments from these settlements periodically trek to distant garden, fishing, and hunting sites, where they reside for part of the year. All settlements, whether dispersed or nucleated, are divided into sections of about 25 people to (usually) no more than 150. All modern hamlets have a central plaza with a school; some have a Catholic or Protestant chapel. All of the sites mentioned above (except the Comuna San Jacinto), and many others, have an airstrip built by either Catholic or Protestant missionaries.

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