Graduation Year


Document Type




Degree Name

Master of Arts (M.A.)

Degree Granting Department

Government and International Affairs

Major Professor

Rachel May, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Bernd Reiter, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Harry Vanden, Ph.D.


Ecuador, Ethnicity, Indigeneity, Mestizaje


The 1990s were a period of intense socio-economic upheaval in Ecuador, in part due to the numerous protests that would come to be known as the Levantamiento Indígena. Notoriously disenfranchised since the bloody conquest of the Americas, peoples of various Indigenous nationalities that reside within Ecuador fought for the constitutional recognition of the nation as both plurinational and multicultural, in order to secure intercultural public policies that would affect patterns of agrarian distribution, indigenous education, health, and overall representation. The prominence of the Indigenous movement and the revalorization of the Indigenous identity throughout Ecuador became an attractive vehicle for which to leverage for rights with the state by coastal communities that were long considered to be mestizo as opposed to Indigenous. Communities in coastal Ecuador engaged in strategic identity construction in order to capitalize on the prominence of the Indigenous identity. By adopting external markers of indigeneity, mestiza women and men engaged in a process of reindigenization as a deliberate political strategy in order to be able to demand rights from the Ecuadorian state.