Collection Description

Culture Name

Quito Quichua

Culture Description

The Quito Quichua are the Quichua-speaking people living mostly within the suburban districts and rural parishes of the Quito Canton (Municipal Quito) in the central highlands of Pichincha province, Ecuador. The Quito Quichua are in transition between a subsistence and a commercial or market economy, with a wide variety of small businesses and wage-earning in the industrial and service sectors. Some Quito Quichua are prosperous, particularly those who have retained landholdings and/or have expanded their retail and wholesale trading within Quito to an interprovincial or international scale. However, many wage laborers have to work multiple jobs to survive.


Select the Culture Summary link above for a longer description of the culture.


South America --Central Andes



OWC Code


Number of Documents


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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 this collection focus on a time span from 1936 to 1978, although some contain considerable historical background information as far back as the Inca occupation and the Spanish Conquest in the sixteenth century. The fundamental ethnography, by Beals (1966, no. 1), is based on fieldwork conducted in the community of Nayón in 1949. It is a study of community organization emphasizing how the growing links between the traditional and national economies on the eastern outskirts of the capital city of Quito in Pichincha Province, and ways in which the resultant forces of acculturation are affecting social organization. Other prominent themes include the daily routines of life and forms of mutual aidBeals (1952, no. 2) follows up with an argument that encroaching urbanization with its pressures on land ownership is a more potent force for social change in Nayón than the lure of cultural assimilation (mestizaje) that accompanies economic integration. In a study of what were by the late 1970s the newly (sub)urbanized eastern barrios of Quito, Salomon (1981, no. 3) validates Beals' hypothesis with a fascinating look at the psychological, religious, social, and philosophical dimensions of the Yumbo dancing that is part of the Corpus Christi festival, revealing how the costumed dance/dramatic performance is a means of reaffirming collective ethnic identity and asserting ethnic pride given increasingly nationalized and westernized surroundings and individual aspirations.

For more detailed information on the content of the individual works in this collection, see the abstracts in the citations preceding each document.

Overview by

Leon G. Doyon

ayllu – as community structure - use "COMMUNITY STRUCTURE (621)"; as kinship distinction - use "KINDREDS AND RAMAGES (612)"

canton- use "DISTRICTS (634)"

chicha [native beer] - use "ALCOHOLIC BEVERAGES (273)"

compadre, compadrazgo godparent, godparenthood - use "ARTIFICIAL KIN RELATIONSHIPS (608)"

hacienda – as property system - use "REAL PROPERTY (423)"; as system of labor obligation - use "LABOR RELATIONS (466)"; as class and labor system, historically - use "SERFDOM AND PEONAGE (566)"

minga - use "MUTUAL AID (476)"

padrino – see compadre

parroquia [parish/township] - use "TOWNS (632)"

prioste [saint’s and saint’s festival steward] - use "CONGREGATIONS (794)"

rezador, maytro rezador [prayer-maker, master prayer-maker] - use "CONGREGATIONS (794)"

teniente politico [political head of a parish] - use "LOCAL OFFICIALS (624)"

Indexing Notes by

Leon G. Doyon

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