Conclusion
I return now to a question formulated at the beginning of this volume: how
do we approach and interpret the specificity of indigenous politics? And,
more specifically, how do we understand the interplay of cultural and po-
litical distinctiveness in relation to larger processes of change in geopoli-
tics and transnational economics? How have the many changes in Ecua-
dor’s political culture that have taken place since I concluded my initial
period of fieldwork in 1998 impacted circumstances in Tixán? The politi-
cal processes I have examined account for the period that led to the multi-
cultural turn and the moment in which second- grade organizations such
as the Inca Atahualpa came to play a crucial role in redefining local power
relations. But what has happened in the intervening years? How have the
Inca Atahualpa and the Quichuas in Tixán been navigating the complexi-
ties of the postrecognition phase? I have argued that the multiplication of
subject positions arising from the politicization of ethnic identity is not
inherently disempowering for indigenous movements. Nonetheless, what
are the consequences of the politics of ethnic recognition for indigenous
people in Tixán?
In addition to having maintained contact with people from Tixán dur-
ing these intervening years, I returned to Tixán in October 2007. Accord-
ing to what I saw and to what A. L. recounted, the changes in Tixán are
consistent with trends described in this book. Like many other towns in
the Ecuadorian highlands, Tixán has become “more indigenous,” mean-
ing that more indigenous people have moved to the town. Concomitantly,
many tixaneños, especially the wealthier families, kept migrating to cities
or abroad, leaving behind their elders and their houses and returning
for the town’s fiestas in June. This change has particularly affected the
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