Life of Peru's Indigenous People

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Throughout the history of Latin American countries, like Peru there has been dramatic change in the overall way of life. These changes are largely due to external influences on the international level such as the Spanish conquest of Andean territories. However no matter whether the process of change was political, economic, social or cultural, they all have similarities and are interconnected. These different types of change are closely intertwined and influence one another while linking the local level of life with foreign (on an (inter)national level) events and forces. Also along with these changes, some aspects of indigenous life remain stable and continue throughout these external influences. In this essay I will discuss continuity and change with regard to some specific institutions or practice prominent in village life. Then I will explain how change and continuity are related to the widespread decline of quality of life and mestizaje in most indigenous communities.

The original occupants of the Latin American country Peru and surrounding areas were the Incas. These people were organized into local ethnic groups or communities of about four to ten people. The Incas were composed of corporate kinship groups and grouped into hierarchical dual organizations called moieties. Also these ethnic groups were endogamous and leadership amongst them was based on hereditary standards. Therefore political, religious and economic responsibilities were placed upon kuracas or native elites who inherited their status. The most important aspect of Andean life in the Andes amongst these people dealt with agriculture. Incan landscapes were very unique and can at best be described as very rugged terrain stretched out over the Andes mountains...

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...ife and established poverty as a primary characteristic of rural communities. Therefore all the indigenous people wanted to immigrate to cities and become more modernized. This led to the term mestizaje or the process of becoming a mestizo. All the indigenous communities began to place one foot in the city and the other foot in the village. This meant that people still kept their small portions of land but also sent their children to cities to get an education, become involved in a market economy and receive income from labor. In return this educated family member would then send money home to help support there families and indigenous lands. Also this informal spectrum of the economy led to a language change (Quechua to Spanish), syncretic religion(mixture of Christianity with indigenous religion) and a change in dress (from making clothes to buying them in stores).

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