Andean Lives: Gregorio Condori Mamani and Asunta Quispe Huamán
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Gregorio Condori Mamani and Asunta Quispe Huamán were runakuna, a Quechua word that means "people" and refers to the millions of indigenous inhabitants neglected, reviled, and silenced by the dominant society in Peru and other Andean countries. For Gregorio and Asunta, however, that silence was broken when Peruvian anthropologists Ricardo Valderrama Fernández and Carmen Escalante Gutiérrez recorded their life stories. The resulting Spanish-Quechua narrative, published in the mid-1970s and since translated into many languages, has become a classic introduction to the lives and struggles of the "people" of the Andes.
Andean Lives is the first English translation of this important book. Working directly from the Quechua, Paul H. Gelles and Gabriela Martínez Escobar have produced an English version that will be easily accessible to general readers and students, while retaining the poetic intensity of the original Quechua. It brings to vivid life the words of Gregorio and Asunta, giving readers fascinating and sometimes troubling glimpses of life among Cuzco's urban poor, with reflections on rural village life, factory work, haciendas, indigenous religion, and marriage and family relationships.
respectively. The reader needs to keep in mind that implicit in the narrators’ use of these terms is a sense of kinship, belonging, and participation in terms of the place itself a spiritual connection that bonds together a people, the town they live in, the surrounding landscape, and the deities that reside there. Andean towns and villages, like their subunits (e.g., “neighborhood ayllus”), provide a strong local sense of identity for their members and are often closely identified with
the National Endowment of the Humanities Summer Institute “Recreating the New World Contact: Indigenous Languages and Literatures of Latin America” at the University of Texas at Austin in 1989 have proven important to this project. In particular, we would like to thank Margot Beyersdorff, Luis Morato, Dennis Tedlock, George Urioste, and especially Francis Kartunnen and Bruce Mannheim. The Anthropology Department at the University of California at Riverside is another institution that supported
established in Peru in 1975, was amended in 1985 with several important changes, such as establishing it as trivocal (a, i, u). Much has been written about this new alphabet, and the reader can consult any number of sources (e.g., Cerrón-Palomino 1987:380, Chirinos 1994b: 58–60, Godenzzi 1992, Mannheim 1991:235–238, and Valderrama and Escalante 1992: 241–245). 22. It is worth noting that such utterances by superiors are not always marked by language shifts in the narratives. GREGORIO
“Heaven.” However, the reader must remember that here and elsewhere, this and other Christian concepts and images are entirely fused and interpenetrated with Andean religious concepts and images. This is evident, for example, in the concept of “underworld,” also found in this sentence, which is our translation of uku pacha (Q.): “The lower world, inhabited by tiny little beings and local protective spirits. A deity of Christian origin, the devil, also resides in this world” (Valderrama and
labor, exchange labor, peonage. The term mink’a designates different kinds of labor arrangements from one region to another. Sometimes it denotes a form of peonage; other times, a replacement worker for an ayni debt; and other times, the collective and festive labor used in activities such as roofing a house, working a field, and so on. Andean peoples pool their labor in different ways, and mink’a is a generic name for several of these. See also ayni and Chapter 4, note 1. misti (Q.): “Mestizo,