Otavalo - Kinship



Kin Groups and Descent. It is not known if the Caranqui or Cayambi had clans or moieties, but if so they have disappeared. Colonial documents mention the ayllu, a Quechua term for a corporate landholding group based on presumed common ancestry, but today "ayllu" simply means "family." There is no rule of village exogamy. Most Otavalo marry within the ethnic group, but there are some marriages with Whites. Descent is bilateral. Children have a patronym and matronym, and men and women keep both names after marriage. The practice of extending the family network through compadrazgo (coparenthood, fictive kinship) has religious, social, and economic importance. Godparents to a child at baptism, first communion, or confirmation became compadres to the child's parents. Compadres recognize an obligation to help one another in various ways, including economically, so families frequently choose compadres from a higher socioeconomic bracket. Godparents are supposed to supervise the religious education of their godchildren but usually help the godchild with secular matters (gifts, money for education, jobs) and may be asked to raise the child if he or she is orphaned.


Kinship Terminology. Evidence from the 1940s suggests that Otavalo Quichua kinship terminology was similar to that of the Inca: a bifurcate-merging system with classificatory three-generation cycles in both maternal and paternal lines. Today Spanish and some Quichua terms are used according to a European system, except that an affinal or consanguineal aunt is called pani (Quichua for sister) as well as tía (Spanish for aunt). The Quichua mama and taita (mother and father) are used for parents and as honorifics for elderly people in general, whereas the Spanish tía and tío (aunt and uncle) are used for these kin and as honorifics for younger adults. Children often call their godparents by the Quichua terms achimama or achitaita (godmother or godfather).

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