Collection Description

Culture Name


Culture Description

The Chachi live in single-household settlements along the Rio Cayapas and its tributaries in northwest Esmeraldas Province, Ecuador. Chachi history and origins are somewhat obscure. Scholars debate whether they came to their present location from the highlands or from the coastal region. The earliest contact with the Spanish occurred in the 1590s. The Chachi mostly subsist on river fishing, and on upland hunting and growing plantains and manioc. Canoe-making is a major manufacturing activity. The Chachi are largely self-governing and the Ecuadorian government recognizes Chachi tribal sections as owners of the land in their territory.


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South America --Northwestern South America



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Collection Overview

Documents referred to in this section are included in eHRAF World Cultures and are referenced by author, date of publication, and eHRAF document number.

The documents in the Chachi file are in English and Spanish. Barrett (1925, no. 3) wrote the major ethnography largely focusing on subsistence and material culture. Altschuler (1964, no. 4) summarizes some of Barrett’s work and then focuses on disputes over marital and sexual transgressions. The archeologist De Boer wrote on the archeology and ethnohistory of the Chachi (1995, no. 7) and on shaman figurines (1998, no. 6). The Spanish texts include a discussion of Chachi ethnohistory (Moreno Navarro 1979, no. 9) and Chachi fishing techniques, including the making of nets and canoes (Maestro 1979, no. 10).

For more detailed information on the context of the individual works in the file, see the abstracts in the citations preceding each document.

Overview by

Ian Skoggard

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