Indigena Self-Identity in Ecuador and the Rejection of Mestizaje

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Indigenous peoples of Ecuador have organized and mobilized over the past thirty years, partly to reshape their identities after centuries of domination. This research is a preliminary effort to explore the contemporary complexity of that identity. Best viewed as a quantitative casestudy, this analysis uses responses from seventy-six indigenous college students to a self-administered questionnaire. The authors found that indigenous students with greater "acculturation experiences" with mestizo culture were more strident in rejecting elements of that culture than were their colleagues who had had fewer encounters with mestizo elements of Ecuadorian society. While the tendency to identify oneself ethnically by rejecting the dominant culture represents only one dimension of ethnic identity (maintaining distinctiveness), the authors consider the findings important for future research on the dynamics of the process of ethnic identification.