La onomástica de nombres erróneos en la construcción de andinidad fallida y débil andeancia: el imperativo de microrefugios bioculturales en los Andes


Fausto O. Sarmiento1*, Juan A. Gonzalez2, Esteban O. Lavilla3, Mario Donoso4,5 and José Tomás Ibarra6,7

1 Neotropical Montology Collaboratory, Department of Geography, University of Georgia, USA

2 Area of Botany, Institute of Ecology, Fundación Miguel Lillo, Argentina

3 Institute of Herpetology, Fundación Miguel Lillo, Argentina

4 Unit of Engineering, Industry and Construction, Catholic University of Cuenca, Ecuador

5 VLIR-IUC Program in Migration and Local Development, University of Cuenca-Flemish Universities

6 ECOS Laboratory, Center for Local Development, Pontific Catholic University of Chile, Villarrica

7 Center for Intercultural and Indigenous Research and Millennium Nucleus Center for the Socioeconomic Impact of Environmental Policies, Pontific Catholic University of Chile, Villarrica


Identificador ORCID de los autores y e-mail:

Fausto O. Sarmiento: http://orcid.org/0000-0003-0501-6020. E-mail: fsarmien@uga.edu

Juan A. Gonzalez: https://orcid.org/0000-0003-0624-8608. E-mail: jalules54@gmail.com

Esteban O. Lavilla: https://orcid.org/0000-0001-7024-3049. E-mail: eolavilla@gmail.com

Mario Donoso: https://orcid.org/0000-0002-0505-4118. E-mail: donoso.mario@gmail.com

José Tomás Ibarra: https://orcid.org/0000-0002-7705-3974. E-mail: jtibarra@uc.cl

*Corresponding author



We seek to (re)construct a geocritical narrative for the essence of place, by (re)writing mountain specificities that imprint cultural traits on tropical and temperate Andean landscapes, creating a unique identity trilemma for the people of highland South America. We use onomastics as a study of mistaken individuality, with a post-structuralism approach to define ‘the Andean’ within humanistic geoecology; thus, we incorporate notions related to common phenotypic traits of ‘Andeanity’, together with cryptic, emergent properties of ‘Andeaness’ and mystic conditions of spirituality of ‘Andeanitude’, to produce a new trifecta of ecoregional building, with a challenging epistemology for ‘Andean’ as a biocultural heritage landscape informed from traditional knowledge, dialectically appropriated from the old and the young, the foreign and the native, and the original and the composed. Hence, the imagined, heterogeneous, and dynamic identity of Andean people is characterized as dynamic and evolving flow of the mountainscape. We argue that it is still adapting to frameworks of global environment change; hence, it is subjected to withering if not for certain biocultural microrefugia that keep Andean landscape memory alive.

With a review of the hermeneutics of Andes, because of orthographic variants (c.f.: graphiosis) that incorporated Kichwa-based, Kañary-based or Mapudungun-based words in the hegemonic lexicon of colonial expansionism of Castilian terms, we argue for the inclusion of vernacular descriptors instead of Roman Sanctorum or Patriotic ephemerides utilized to name geographical features in Andean South America. A plea to restore vernacular descriptors with the original peoples’ language uses, toponymy and onomatopoeia, brings political recognition and invigorates original communities’ pride of their ancestral heritage to reinforce their wellbeing in biodiversity microrefugia. Switching from imperial, imposed names of colonialist geographies to vernacular words or other non-hegemonic locatives of (de)colonial scholarship will help find a better “sense of place” in the Andes and will increase the likelihood of survival and (re)generation of ancestral socio-ecological production Andean mountainscapes.

Note: We use “double quotation” marks for emphasis or alternative meaning, ‘single quotation’ marks for Spanish terms, and cursive for indigenous terms or scientific names.



Buscamos (re)construir una narrativa geocrítica para la esencia del paisaje al (re)escribir las especificidades de montaña que impriman atributos culturales en los paisajes andinos tropicales y templados, creando un trilema de identidad único para la gente de las tierras altas de América del Sur. Usamos la onomástica como un estudio de la individualidad errada con un enfoque post-estructuralista para definir “lo andino” dentro de la geoecología humanística; por lo tanto, incorporamos nociones relacionadas con los atributos fenotípicos de Andeanidad, junto con las propiedades crípticas emergentes de Andeancia y las condiciones místicas de espiritualidad de Andeanitud, para producir una nueva trifecta de construcción ecoregional, con una epistemología desafiante para el paisaje patrimonial biocultural basado en el conocimiento tradicional, apropiado dialécticamente de lo viejo a lo nuevo, de lo foráneo a lo nativo y de lo original a lo copiado. Por lo tanto, la dinámica identidad heterogénea imaginada de la gente andina está caracterizada por un flujo dinámico y evolutivo del paisaje montano. Argumentamos que la nomenclatura aún se adapta a marcos de cambio ambiental global; así, está aún sujeta a deterioro a no ser que ciertos microrefugios bioculturales puedan mantener la memoria del paisaje andino vivo.

Con una revisión de la hermenéutica de Andes, debido a las variantes (c.f. grafiosis) que incorporaron palabras basadas en Kichwa, Kañary o Mapudungun en el léxico hegemónico del expansionismo colonial de los términos castellanos, apelamos a la inclusión de los descriptores vernáculos en vez del santoral romano y la efemérides patriótica utilizada para nombrar los atributos geográficos en la Sudamérica andina. Pedimos restaurar los descriptores vernáculos con el lenguaje usado por los pueblos originarios, su toponimia y onomatopeya, para atraer el reconocimiento político y para vigorizar el orgullo del patrimonio ancestral de las comunidades de montaña para refuerzo de su bienestar en los microrefugios bioculturales. Al cambiar los nombres impuestos por la geografía imperial colonial a las palabras vernáculas u otros locativos no hegemónicos de escolaridad decolonial, se ayudará a obtener un mejor ‘sentido del lugar’ en los Andes e incrementará la posibilidad de (super)vivencia y (re)generación de los paisajes productivos socioecológicos ancestrales andinos.

Nota: Usamos “comillas dobles” para énfasis o significado alterno, ‘comillas simples’ para los términos en español, y letra cursiva para los términos indígenas o nombres científicos.


Recibido: 16-04-2019. Aceptado: 24-09-2019. Fecha de publicación on-line: 28/10/2019

Citation / Cómo citar este artículo: Sarmiento, F. O., Gonzalez, J. A., Lavilla, E. O., Donoso, M., Ibarra, J. T. (2019). Onomastic Misnomers in the Construction of Faulty Andeanity and Weak Andeaness: Biocultural Microrefugia in the Andes. Pirineos, 174, e049. https://doi.org/10.3989/pirineos.2019.174009

KEYWORDS: Andeaness; Andeanity; Andeanitude; rurality; Páramo; Andean trilemma.

PALABRAS CLAVE: Andeanidad; Andeancia; Andeanitud; ruralidad; páramo; trilema andino.

Copyright: © 2019 CSIC. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0) License.






Methodology in search of the Andean being


Conclusion and Discussion



1. IntroductionTop

Identity is one of the parameters to measure how effectively different actors design, construct and appropriate the “essence of place”, as related to the territorializing of space by community members in their pursue of self-affiliation or other’s categorizations of culture in the Andes (Tuan, 1979; Zimmerer, 2006). Finding “landscape character” was a key objective of descriptive, physical geographers of the past who are still elucidating the Humboldtian enigma (Sauer, 1925; Rahbek, 2019). Currently, the Andean spaces suffer a gamut of tensions in the narratives used to build an oddity of mixtures assumed as Andean, which complicates social-ecological theory and defy monolithic definitions (Seligman & Fine-Dare, 2019). For instance, separating the northern Andes from the Central Andes depends on whether you follow biota (e.g. páramo) or culture (e.g., corn versus potatoes), such that in recent surveys Venezuela is not even included as Andean, or Bolivia is being questioned as Andean since more than 75% of territorial space belongs to the Amazonian lowlands. Similar predicaments exist in southern Chile with lower glaciated mountains (most of them volcanoes) averaging 2300 masl, forming a questionable Andean identity for the lack of imposing highlands of the northern territory. Thus, among this highly situational reality of the topography and associated biota, the critical or analytical human geographers of today want to identify what constitutes that essence that makes the place so unique (Brickell, 2012; Sánchez et. al., 2017).

Often isolated, the localized analysis of spatiality provides a rather easy glimpse for typifying less heterogeneous groups and creates a finite set of people living communally in a specific mountain valley, hence, creating the so-called mountain “specificity” (sensuJoda, 2003). However, identity typology depends upon scalar dimensions and the meaning of rurality of agricultural landscapes (Amilhat-Szary, 2009) or ‘farmscape’ in Neotropical mountains. The scale jumping needed to transition this process to a larger regional or continental level masks many proprieties that used to separate, yet in some cases used to unite, different holarchies of lower-resolution into a larger, more homogeneous ‘Andean’ culture of higher holons throughout antiquity and the historical period (Silverman & Isbell, 2008). It is a bizarre Janus-face construction typical of transitional, hybrid, or indeterminate landscapes in what is referred to in the Arabic term Barzakh (Figure 1), that makes up the fuzzy boundaries with the complexity of coupled panarchy of the Andes, often manifested as a time-space mosaic (Borsdorf & Stadel, 2015; Riukulehto, 2015). Therefore, the imaginary of Andean is part of the larger complex of Latiness (Mignolo, 1991).

Figure 1. Barzakh in the Andes, that makes up the fuzzy boundaries of light and darkness, with the complexity of coupled panarchy of the Andes, often manifested as a time-space mosaic. Source: NASA Earth Observatory. https://earthobservatory.nasa.gov/

Figura 1. Barzakh en los Andes, que hace de la línea de penumbra un lindero imprecise, con la complejidad de la panarquía acoplada de los Andes, manifestada frecuentemente como un mosaic de tiempo y espacio. Fuente: Observatorio Terrestre, NASA. https://earthobservatory.nasa.gov/

Constructing social identity requires not only the physical similarities that occur on a group of people in a certain place in the Americas cordillera, or Andeanity, but also the spatiality of Andean conservation territories and their historiography, in what the French term terroir, aiming to describe it by including all behavioral and psychological workings, to define the ‘terruño’, or Andeaness. Incorporating emotional links with the landscape that shapes the specific livelihood of the rural bucolic, the Spanish term ‘pago’ portraits notions of uniqueness, that could be shared in the romantic realm of the ‘querencia’ to appropriate a mountain livelihood (or lifescape), to love and care for with mysticism and ethics resulting from sharing the abode of gods in the highlands, in what is being known as Andean spirituality (or Andeanitude). These terms require analyses that combine small areal scale and large time spans (Orlove, 1985). For instance, it is easy to identify the extant cultural markers such as tenacity, language usage or shared practices, that united the people of the Mapuche and the Diaguita in both Chile and Argentina, the Aymara in Bolivia or the Kichwa Utawallu in Ecuador, as respectively identified by iconic elements of resistance, assimilation, seclusion or integration in the contemporary global economy of Latin America (Mignolo, 1991). This makes pragmatic (self)identification difficult, often merged with violence due to inequalities and struggles for ethnic pride and mobilization (Thorp et al., 2006), with the background legacy of hegemony of empire to name places and landscape attributes of the “New World”:

“... Ha sido costumbre muy ordinaria en estos descubrimientos del Nueuo Mundo poner nombres a las tierras y puertos, de la occasion que se les ofrecía...”

Joseph de Acosta. 1590. Historia Natural y Moral de las Indias. Cap. 13, p. 50

Furthermore, there seems to be an omnipresent “questing self as archetype” that percolates the confines of academia for what character should be considered as Andean (Gade, 2011). It follows that, at a continental scale, all these groups are Andean but, the oddity of ‘lo Andino’ presented throughout the region is misleading at best (Sarmiento, 2013a). For instance, some authors do not consider the Mapuche to be Andean. It is hard to construct the Andeanity of Afro-Ecuadorians in El Chota valley of Imbabura Province without relating them closer to the distant colored Bolivians in Tarija basin than to their Utawallu neighbors in nearby Imbakucha watershed of northern Ecuador (Salomon, 1980). Similarly, it is difficult to understand the Andeaness of the Wichí of Salta without relating them closer to the Berebere in distant Costa Rica than to the adjacent Diaguita in Tucumán. A better understanding of both Andeanity (the tangible oddities) and Andeaness(the intangible peculiarities) is imperative, should anyone wish to build a continental identity associated with the Andes cordillera, completed with the spiritual idiosyncrasy of Andeanitude(the imaginary theogonies). Furthermore, there is no real boundary of altitude to separate the “Andean” from the rest of the lowland groups (Knapp, 2019). In fact, many of the “original people” that inhabit the length of the Andean flank (Shwar in Ecuador, Achwar in Peru) or even the lowland Amazon (e.g., Kofan in Ecuador) are arguably more “Andean” than groups that are circumscribed to their small interAndean valleys in the highlands. However, from the beginning of the European description of this mountainscape, the term Andes was associated with an ethnic group located in the eastern flank towards the Amazon, as described by the earliest chronicle:

… “Y tanto han sonado los beneficios, que a todos estos naturales ha hecho y va haciendo, que los indios infieles de guerra de muchas provincias comarcanas a este reino, teniéndose por seguros debajo de su palabra y salvaguardia, han salido a verse y comunicarse con él y dado la obediencia, espontáneamente a vuestra majestad, como lo hicieron los Andes de Jauja, términos de Pilcozoni, y los mañaríes al levante del Cuzco, y los chunchos y otros, a los cuales tornó a enviar a su tierra gratos y obligados a vuestro real servicio con los presentes que les dio y los regalos y buen acogimiento que les hizo...”

Pedro Sarmiento de Gamboa, en Ortega, 2018.

The complex adaptive system of Andean communities, hence, is not circumscribed by the locative alone, nor can be described only by observation and passive simplification as argued recently by Dayton (2018). We seek to (re)construct discourses available in developing a social construction of place, by (re)working mountain specificities that imprint cultural traits on historicity of spatial dynamics of both tropical and temperate Andean mountainscapes, generating an identity trilemma for different Andean peoples, increasing the dualism of nature/culture dilemma into a trifecta of geocritical narratives that include the epistemology portrayed by a newly defined holistic trilemma within a transdisciplinary framework.

2. Methodology in search of the Andean beingTop

Scholars of Andean themes are collectively referred to as “Andeanists” because of their professional affiliation to study the regional geography of the Western South American mountain landscapes, not only the snow-covered cordillera, from a variety of disciplinary perspectives. They generally use pertinent terms to describe unique qualities of endemic phenomena in the region. Whether fauna, flora, gea, cultural traits of attire, rituals, language use and even psychological features, these are distinguishable elements of a vast array of qualifiers they use to formulate a single idea of Andean identity. Sometimes, athletes that practice trekking or rock climbing in the mountains are referred to as “Andenists” if they so practice the sport in the Andes, as opposed to practicing it in the Alps (whence, “Alpinists”). Academics try to define Andean identity as a construct of the north-south debate, whereas a tendency to coalesce all cultures of the region in a pigeonhole exists. The use of the term “Andeanism” identifies a tendency to favor original cultures and vernacular lexicons that tune up with literary trends of indigenism and ruralism. We understand “Andeanity” to mean a physically driven, corporeally manifested structure objectified as typical of the Andes region, such as the overall people complexion, the ecosystem configuration and the landscape phenosystemic intervention. On the other hand, we understand “Andeaness” to mean a culturally driven, intellectually manifested structure reified as of common ancestry and customary observed, such as the overall behavior, the ecosystem homeorhetic function and the hidden landscape cryptosystemic comprehension of intangibles or incommensurables (Sarmiento et al., 2017).

In short, to equate it with a familiar paradox of biogeography, Andeanity is to connectivity as Andeaness is to connectedness: only when Andeanity and Andeaness go together as a whole, Andean identity realizes. Similarly to the distinction between diversity and diverseness, two derivations for the qualities of being diverse based in form, function, and change, the use of substantive and adverbial forms of the noun Andes should come in tandem to understand Andean identity. Finally, when the spiritual realm includes highland mystique and magic, “Andeanitude” becomes evident. But, does this always happen? Can you be Andean without having to behave like one or appear like one? To what extent the non-Andean physical traits can better explain what it takes for Andeaness to occur? Can a foreign visitor become Andean? Can we find Andeanity in the faraway places of Japan, Europe or the United States where psychological Andeaness was obvious? Moreover, spiritual levels of Andeanitude can also be achieved elsewhere; hence, we needed to comprehend the holistic complex of nature-culture within world mountain geography, finding specific descriptors for tropical and temperate mountainscapes.

This confusion relates to the onomastics of Andeanity, Andeaness and Andeanitude by asking: What does it mean to be Andean? We are using a poststructuralist approach of discourse analysis to help finding an epistemology of Andes, whose origin is still contested.

According to many sources, the first time the word was used was in the first volume of the “Comentarios Reales” of the Inca Garcilazo de la Vega (1609) which has generated a deluge of mistaken toponymy.

“... Llamaron a la parte del oriente Antisuyu, por una provincia llamadaAnti que está al oriente, por la cual también llaman Anti a toda aquella gran cordillera de sierra nevada que pasa al oriente del Perú, por dar a entender que está al oriente...”

Garcilaso de la Vega, 1609. Libro II. Cap. XI. Pág. 37, frente.

However, according to the edition of Pedro Crasbeeck the term “Andes” appears several times in the First Volume, as:

  1. Lib. VII, cap. 1. fol. 165v: “...mandaron que pues la gran serrania de los Andes comarcaua con la mayor parte de los pueblos, que de cada vno saliese cierta cantidad de Yndios con sus mugeres...”
  2. Lib. VIII, cap. IIII, fol. 201r: “...Este palacio, o aposento era cabeça de las prouincias comarcanas a los Andes, y junto a el auía templo del Sol...”
  3. Lib. VIII, cap. XVIII, fol. 216v: “...Micos ay innumerables por todas essas montañas de Islas tierra firme y Andes...”

Garcilazo de la Vega, 1609. Libros VII y VIII. Ed. Pedro Crasbeeck

The fact is that the Andes as a region was never described with any single word. Antisuyu is the metageographical descriptor of direction equivalent to Eastern, one of the four cardinal points including Chinchasuyu (toward the North), Kuntisuyu (toward the West), and Kullasuyu (toward the South), used to describe the extent of the territorial claims of the Inka domain(‘Incario’ or Tawantinsuyu, towards everywhere, or the four corners from the city of Kuzku, its capital, reportedly the ‘navel’ of the world); hence, Antisuyu refers to the domain where the sun rises on the Inka Empire, found on the Andean verdant towards the East, to Amazonia (Figure 2). In fact, in the colonial epoch, everything located in the distant lowland vastness of the Amazon River was called ‘Oriente’. The Antis occupied this jungle with warm environments, full of fauna and flora, not the same ecosystems currently described as “Andean”. A better approximation is offered in the writings of Cobo (1964) where the connection of the name Andes and the eastern flank is evident:

“Los indios del Cuzco y su comarca llaman con este nombre de yuncas a las tierras que caen a la parte oriental de la cordillera general que están en derecho de aquella ciudad, que es principalmente cierta provincia llamadaAnti, de temple muy caliente y húmedo; de donde los españoles, extendiendo estos nombres a las sierras de la misma calidad, las llaman yuncas y Andes, corrompiendo el nombre deAnti; y a los naturales dellas denominan indios yuncas, a diferencia de los de la Sierra, a quienes llaman serranos...”

Bernabe Cobo en 1653. Historia del Nuevo Mundo. Capítulo VIII del Libro II. p 66. Publicado en 1890 (Cobo 1964)

Figure 2. The four corners of the world, indicated by the extent of the Tawantinsuyu with the city of Cuzco as its center or ‘navel’ of the world. Source: Urteaga, Horacio H. 1926. Mapa del Tahuantinsuyo (Imperio de los Incas) según los relatos de los antiguos cronistas, los asertos de los arqueólogos y las cartas de los historiadores y geógrafos. París: Librería Armand Collin. Imp. Gaillac.

Figura 2. Las cuatro esquinas del mundo, indicadas por la extension del Tawantinsuyu con la ciudad del Cusco en su centro, o “el ombligo” del mundo. Fuente: Urteaga, Horacio H. 1926. Mapa del Tahuantinsuyo (Imperio de los Incas) según los relatos de los antiguos cronistas, los asertos de los arqueólogos y las cartas de los historiadores y geógrafos. París: Librería Armand Collin. Imp. Gaillac.

Several first chroniclers (Cieza de León, 1553; López de Gómara, 1554; Zárate, 1555; Girava, 1556; Fernández, 1571; Apiano, 1575) do not make any reference to the etymology of Andes. Describing these regions as the ‘Sierra Alta’, the ‘Cordillera General’, ‘Cordillera Real’ became synonyms of what in current usage is plural “Andes” for the general cordillera across latitudes, and singular “Ande” for individual mountain edifices in specific longitudes, regarding of their altitudes. For instance, the southern Patagonian Andes, for the former, or the Pichincha volcano of Quito in its anthem: “Oh, ciudad española en el Ande, Oh, ciudad que el incario soñó,” for the latter.There is a clear attempt to differentiate the terms “Sierra” with the “Cordillera” though. Again, Sarmiento de Gamboa pointed out

“...Y los dichos criados suyos, obedeciendo el mandamiento de Viracocha, dispusiéronse al camino y obra, y el uno fue por la sierra o cordillera, que llaman, de las cabezadas de los llanos, sobre el Mar del Sur, y el otro por la sierra que cae sobre las espantables montañas, que decimos de los Andes, situada al levante del dicho mar....” (p. 132)

Sarmiento de Gamboa en Ortega, 2018

Onomastics of Andes, from graphiosis of Castilian shorthand ‘cord. andes.’ is arguably more likely to explain the common use of the term Andes to refer to the entire General Cordillera, where the presence of terraces was the outstanding cultural landscape feature; hence, the ‘cordillera de los andenes’ or also ‘cordillera de las andenerías’ is definitively a reference to an imposing cultural landscape feature that hints the hybridization of nature and culture in this part of the world (Camara & Mesquita, 2018), manifested in the imposing architecture of echelon platforms, for which the vernacular descriptor is sukris.

“A estos escalones llamamos nosotros acá andenes, y los indios los llaman sucres” (p. 209).

”... Fueron estos visitadores cada uno al partido, que le cupo, y visitaron ante todas cosas los tucuyricos que habían gobernado, y luego hicieron sacar acequias para las sementeras, rompieron tierras adonde faltaban, haciendo nuevos andenes adonde no los había...” (p. 252).

Sarmiento de Gamboa, P. The History of the Incas [1572]. Translated and edited by Bauer & Smith (2007).

Therefore, place naming of the region has a curious omission from historical accounts; the Kichwa term Ritisuyu (towards the snow) that was applied to the snow-covered highlands; for some reason it was not used by linguists investigating the exegesis of Andes, despite being exhibited in the Inca Garcilaso’s First Volume:

“... Al levante tiene por término aquella nunca jamás pisada de hombres ni de animales ni de aves, inaccesible cordillera de nieves que corre desde Santa Marta hasta el Estrecho de Magallanes, que los indios llamanRitisuyu, que es banda de nieves...”

Garcilaso de la Vega, 1609. Libro I. Cap. VIII. pág. 7, verso.

3. ResultsTop

As a rule of thumb, because of the difficulty of agreement in one descriptor (Seligman, 1996), human geographers prefer to loosely use the Spanish adjective of “lo Andino” to qualify indicators of regional specificity (e.g., Gade, 1999; Stadel, 2001; Denevan, 2003). Ecologists, on the other hand, prefer to use Andean as a prefix of almost everything (e.g., Ellenberg, 1958; Burger, 1992; Knapp, 2019) making it clear that whether using it as Spanish suffix or as English prefix, the idea of a unique identity of the Andes emerges as a noun and it is either swiftly constructed or urgently imagined as an adverb or even as adjective. Often hidden, the faulty word choice forcefully used by conventional scientific educational and communication institutions builds a strong, yet mistaken sense of identity of Andean people in a socioeconomic setting, that uses stereotypical views (Gose, 2018) —such as the Humboldtian paradigm now contested— and appropriates foreign models as their own place in nature (Escobar, 1999).

A similar kind of linguistic appropriation is apparent in the discourse of conservation biologists, enticing us to revisit the use of technical terms applied to neocolonial narratives in the Andes as misnomers (Erickson, 2018); this involves the use of words that originated from inferences of biogeographical features in Latin America described with Western views and legacies of Empire (Weitman, 1981). In this context, we argue that even the confusion found in whether the term America or Americas should describe the continent is based in the mistaken onomastics to glorify the writings of the vessel’s logbook of a sailor from Florence instead of using vernacular terms.

Furthermore, throughout schools in the Andes many textbooks still reiterate the mistaken onomastics of the name “Gran Colombia” as if pledging homage to Christopher Columbus; in reality, when Simón Bolívar dreamed of the greater South American nation as a counterpart to the smaller northern Columbia, —the name given to the 13 American colonies that fought for freedom from England and made the ‘District of Columbia’ their capital— he paid no homage to the “discoverer” of the New World, but he furnished a commitment to freedom and to name Andean South America as the “Grand Columbia” in reference to the bigger land of the free. Just as the proper name for the Statue of Liberty, on the Hudson River in New York City, is Columbia, the old association of the white dove as peace and freedom that take flight explains its scientific name as Columbina passerina. Columbia was the inspiration for the conquest of the West; many pictorials exist in the making of the American nation were lady Columbia is guiding the way to the unknown richer western frontier.

The mistaken onomastics is also reflected in the naming of species using discourses affirmed by binomial taxonomy instead of local nomenclature, masking language hegemony in the description of animals and plants. Politics of translation and language hegemony go together in minimizing the contribution of original people’s discoveries and their uses to the foibles of regional identity (Grech, 2015).

3.1. Zoonymy and faunal misnomers

The naming of animal species following misinformed clues is appalling in the Andes. Zoologists finally rectified the concept that the Andean wolf (Lycalopex culpaeus) is not a wolf but a fox. They also corrected the image of the Andean condor or kuntur or kunturi (Vultur gryphus) as the ‘king’ of hunting birds for a more mundane function of carrion eater and scavenger, giving the noble prestige instead to the kurikingui or “cara-cara” (Phalcoboenus carunculatus) as the real highland predator. There is a plethora of names of species that exhibit foreign last names paying homage to their ‘discoverers’ or the ‘generous patrons’ of expeditions or scientific collections’ curatorial techniques. This is the case, for example, of the bird species black-throated huet-huet (Pteroptochos tarnii), which was named in honor of J. Tarn (1794-1877), an English surgeon of the English maritime expedition commanded by Philip Parker King (1828-1830) who had the mission of conducting a hydrographic study of the southern coasts of the extreme South American lands. It was this expedition that translated four Yamana indigenous to Europe, including “James Button”, 14-year-old boy, and “Fuegia Basket”, a 9-year-old girl (Valdés & Montalbán, 2019). This is a direct reflection of colonial and postcolonial hegemony that generated mistaken namesake for Andean fauna throughout the republican years, as species were graciously and obsequiously named to honor politically correct personas, in a taxonomy based on adulation or gratitude. However, the recognition of the rich faunal assemblage endemic to this hemisphere is present in detailed descriptions offered by Acosta (1590):

“...si los carneros del Perú y los que llaman pacos y guanacos no se hallan en otra región del mundo, ¿quién los llevó al Perú?, ¿o cómo fueron? Pues no quedó rastro de ellos en todo el mundo; y si no fueron de otra región, ¿cómo se formaron y produjeron allí? ¿Por ventura hizo Dios nueva formación de animales? ...”

“...Porque si hemos de juzgar de las especies de los animales por sus propiedades, son tan diversas, que querellas reducir a especies conocidas de Europa será llamar al huevo castaña...”

Ioseph de Acosta (1590). Historia Natural y Moral de las Indias. Capítulo XXXVI

Acosta (1590) also cites abundance of cattle, sheep, goats and proliferation of many other animals brought to the Andes from Europe, using language hegemony in the description of both introduced mammals and birds as naturalized denizens of mountain areas. For a regional example on the use of cunning words, we highlight the mistaken identity of the guinea pig, a highland rodent that is neither from Guinea nor a pig: the kuy (Cavia porcellus) is a house dweller domesticated in the Andes some five thousand years ago. Europeans likened the Andean familiarity of the kuy with that of their own domesticate, the pig; hence, the notion that kuy should be a pigmy porcine endured.

Another example of mistaken identity is the Andean rabbit, a coveted trophy species of mountain hunters who are unaware that Sylvilagus brasiliensis is ubiquitous in the Amazonian lowlands. Past mistaken descriptions of the white tail deer in the páramo led to affirm it as good indicator of the health of the pristine high mountain grassland system, without realizing that there, as in most of its extensive range in North and Central America, Odocoileus virginianus is an indicator of anthropogenic, disturbed landscapes. Finally, most people could not know that Rhaebo blombergi, securing Dr. Rolf Blomblerg’s fame to posterity, is a giant true toad of the Western Andean piedmont towards the Chocó, if the pet market had not exploded with it as of late; but, many could not make use of vernacular Chachi, Embera or Awa terms, that translate it better by telling about its uncommonly enormous size. Another example comes from the Andean bear (Tremarctos ornatus) that is often identified with the highlands, while the distribution of this bear includes preferentially the cloud forest areas and the interfluvial slopes of watersheds (Camargo & Sarmiento, forthcoming). The mystical conception of the ukumari for comprehension of the Andean identity is reflected in the theriomorphic interpretation of its ethology (Gade, 2016), obscured by mythopoeic and narratives of isolation and wonder widespread in its home range. For instance, the entire region of Chachapoyas in northeastern Peru is drained by the Utcubamba river, or the countryside near Cuenca in southern Ecuador, of Ucubamba, literally “land of bears.”

3.2. Phytonymy and floral misnomers

A botanical example of imperialistic description is the ‘cascarilla’ tree (Cinchona succirubra), named after a Spanish Countess of Chinchón, wife of Don Luis Gerónimo Fernández de Cabrera y Bobadilla, the Viceroy of Peru. Here, the hegemony is further demonstrated with its assumed name “Jesuit’s bark” that later became “Peru’s bark” forgetting that its medicinal use was developed by the Paltas, the original people of Loja, and that this plant is Ecuador’s national tree; at present, there is a movement to recover its vernacular name of Kina, due to its widely known alkaloid Quinine, the anti-malarial wonder.

Another example of language hegemony is Stevia rebaudiana, a reputed sweetener known as Kaâ he-e (or sweet herb) by the Warani of the Amambai mountains in Paraguay; here, credit for its ‘discovery’ goes to a Swiss botanist whose initial unfamiliarity with the terrain and the difficulty of locating the sweet herb led him to believe that he had stumbled upon a “little known” plant. Bertoni bestowed the honor of naming the plant to two French chemists instead of the Warani, because they had isolated the herb’s active glycoside. Strong opposition from sugarcane growers elsewhere made Stevia rebaudiana forbidden to global markets until recently, with the switching to use cane juice for biofuel instead of sweetener, thereby crashing the sugar commodity. Because of its popularity amongst diabetics, Kaâ he-e is now no longer rare or little known, but ‘famous’ and “well-known”, very “popular” with the homeopathic crowd. In southern South-America, the Nothofagus obliqua is a common and iconic tree species with both practical and spiritual importance for local Mapuche communities from temperate landscapes, who named it Koyam (Skewes & Guerra, 2015). This tree was named ‘Roble’ by the Spanish conquistadors because of its similarities with Oaks (Family Fagaceae) from Europe.

Many foreign researches and pharmaceutical firms have tried to capture traditional knowledge of plants to patent the applications known by Andean people from pre-colonial times to the present (cf. biopiracy), keeping the use of native pharmacopoeia, even the vernacular names, but capturing royalties of emergent discoveries through modern research in the developed world (Robinson, 2010). Examples of this biopiracy prospects include, among many others, the Ayawashka (Banisteriopsis inebrians) the shamanistic hallucinogenic woody vine, or the Draku (Croton lechlerii)or ‘sangre de drago’, the miraculous antiseptic sap. Even the names of geographic features, such as ‘Gotca’ waterfall, ‘Patagonia’ region, ‘Quechua’ language, or ‘Paramo’ landscape, are now registered trademarks by companies, successfully branding vernacular names for their outdoor equipment and outfitting.

3.3. Geonymy and land misnomers

As most taxonomists can attest about the scientific value of “basket categories” for systematics of biota, the soil taxonomy is no less generous, having a lot of Andosols dumped together with Inceptisols or Ultisols as no specific category could easily fit complex edaphological structure. It is true that the rich, organic black soils of the tropical Andes defy classification, as the origin of such a huge organic stratum is debated between volcanic eruption, weathering of grassy root mats, humification of forest horizons, its burning, or a combination therein.

‘Salares’ are also mislabeled in the generalization of the salt plains of the Andes, where the largest extent of Sodium Chloride environs exists in the world, with the Salar de Uyuni as its archetypical superlative. However, a plethora of small saltlicks or Kachi exist interspersed throughout the Amazon basin, the Orinoquia, the Gran Pantanal, the Gran Chaco and the Pampas near the endorheic Mar Chiquita lake in Argentina, where the high concentration of salts is mostly Magnesium Chloride instead of Sodium. Yet, many animals congregate on their flanks and practice geophagy. Finally, despite the archetype of thorny scrub described as natural ecosystem of the ‘Chaco’ region, the word also is a geological misnomer, that deny the obvious cultural landscape character, as the toponymy of the ‘chaqueño’ region originated rather in a cultural practice of communal hunting or Chaku where rounding up camelids inside large complexes of stoned corrals (Pirka) became the norm. By extension, all types of communal hunting that required groups of people circling the prey population, were referred to as ‘Chaco’:

“... Cuando quieren hacer fiesta los indios a algún personaje que pasa por Chucuito o por Omasuyo, que son las dos riberas de la laguna [se refiere al Lago Titicaca], juntan gran copia de balsas, y en torno van persiguiendo y encerrando los patos, hasta tomar a manos cuantos quieren: llaman este modo de cazar chaco...”

Ioseph de Acosta (1590). Historia Natural y Moral de las Indias. Capítulo XXXVI

An iconic landmark in the Wallmapu, ancestral land of the Mapuche nation which includes areas of both southern Chile and Argentina, is the Rukapillan (Ruka = Home; Pillán = Soul). The Rukapillan is one of the most active volcanoes in Chile and still a highly venerated feature by the Mapuche. The volcano received the Spanish name Villarrica along with the foundation in 1552, at the foothills of the volcano, of the city of ‘Santa María Magdalena de Villa Rica’ (at present Villarrica) by the Spanish explorer Jerónimo de Alderete. Currently the volcano is under the administration of the Chilean Forestry Service (CONAF) and protected within the Villarrica National Park. This National Park is under conflict as many Mapuche communities surrounding the volcano demand the co-management of the protected area and, as such, the right of stewardship of this outstanding feature of their ancestral land.

Lastly, one of the most commonly ill-constructed terminologies is that of ‘Páramo’ to refer to the high Andean grassland of the humid mountains in the Northern Andes. However, its derivation comes from Kichwa language instead of Castilian. In Kichwa, the etymology points to Para or cold fog/drizzle as opposed to Garwa or warm fog/drizzle. Paramuna occurs often in deforested fields of the high mountains, where Pagra or ‘balds’ have been created with fire and grazing pressure in the Paramuna (if windswept, cold and wet) or in Pagramuna (if deforested, clear cut) from pre-Colombian times. The extent of the Andes cordillera may or may not be a good indicator of the term ‘Andean’; new research contests pass biogeographical accounts and extend páramos to Mexico and Guatemala, Costa Rica and Panama, and the southern high pastures of the Sierra de Córdoba and the Cerros Calchaquíes, extending it through the ‘ceja de selva’ in Bolivia and Peru. There are páramos in highland Tucumán, Argentina. Arguably the páramo-like places are also present in the circum-Caribbean around the highland grasslands of Jamaica, Dominican Republic and Puerto Rico.

3.4. Cultural emotunimy and trait misnomers

Often in the Andes, the milieu of historical complexity is difficult to extract when analyzing cultural indicators as many terms were the result of emotions or intangible characters (Resnake, 1988; Stobart & Howard, 2002; Perreault, 2009). Here, we mention just a few gross interpretations that have mistakenly being identified as Andean. Starting with the garb of Andean communities, a matter of pride for many, once thought of as of pure indigenous attire, the many elements of European extraction such as the type of fabric used, the textile pattern, the weaving tool, the colors used, even the designs of looms, are a reflection of the imposition by royal decree from Spain, requiring people of the mountain ‘partialities’ to use a specific design, a kind of uniform, so they can be more easily identified when trying to flee from their colonial masters. Hats from sheep wool with European design, even fedoras, have been integrated as authentic, original costume, despite being traditionally used as markers of Andeanity. Once favored cotton garments, they were replaced with wool and artificial fibers. Even the Punchu and the Kushma to cover the whole body, are now commonly made of synthetic materials with Western marketable designs.

As for the Andean language, the majority of groups are of Kichwa usage (or Runa Shimipi, people’s tongue), making it one of the clearest markers of Andeanity. However, often times forcefully, this trade language was imposed by the Spaniards in order to communicate and subjugate local dialects or full-fledged languages that were obverted with the Kichwa aura of trade language, that grew strong even in academic circles making “Kichwism” an active training front in linguistics, and a preferred tool of “indigenism writers” or “Amerindian anthropologists” (Andreani, 2018). This artificial imposition of the language of the Inka slowly displaced a wide variety of languages with rich diversity; such is the case of Chibcha, Kuna, Kara, Panzaleo, Puruwa, Kañary, Chachapoya, Aymara, Warani, Kakan, Mapuzungun and many others, most of which are now discontinued and some forgotten because they were never written or prohibited. The agraphy of original people’s languages further complicated the extension of Kichwa-based Castilian orthography and grammar (since Kichwa was a trivocalic, non-written language), to the point that it is now debated whether Quechua, Quichua, Kichwa, Q’eqchua or Q’chw’a is the appropriate orthography in the lexicon to use, equating its graphiosis with the administrative and political boundaries in the region (Salomon, 1980). For instance, there is Q’chw’a of Bolivia, Quechua of Peru, Kichwa of Ecuadorian highlands and Kichua of the lowland Amazon, or Quichua of Santiago del Estero in Argentina. The original people themselves have requested the use of the phonetic alphabet (Kichwa) to avoid mistakes of interpretation or acculturation, often studied by its own cadre of ‘Qhichuistas’.

Another important point of weak Andeaness is based on myth and superstition. The omnipresent cult to Earth, in the sense of Allpa, have been forced to integrate a more comprehensive, Gaian-like idea of the Pachamama or ‘Mother earth’. This idea of the feminization of origin and rooting of agricultural practices linked the essence of Andeaness to the respect to the homeland, the required homage paid with offerings and actual payments of alcohol, water or other gifts to earth, and to the observance of tradition in maintaining heirlooms. Mistakenly, Pachamama is giving the female figure and is now observed heading plazas and highways landmarks, such as the sculpture of Raúl Guzmán in Santa María de Catamarca’s welcoming plaza (Figure 3). This has made invisible authentic representations using triangular stones or tall stellas with zoomorphic carvings on each side of the elongated menhirs; often, these monoliths were incrusted in the high terrain (such as around Tafi del Valle in Argentina), or secretly venerated in underground temples (such as “el lanzón” of Chavín de Wantar in Peru).

Figure 3. Sculpture of Pachamama, of Raúl Guzmán, in Santa María de Catamarca’s welcoming plaza. Below, authentic menhirs using stones with zoomorphic carvings on each side of the markers, as exhibited in Tafí del Valle museum. Source: Alejandro Marzioni’s Blog.

Figura 3. Escultura de la Pachamama, de Raúl Guzman, en la plaza de entrada de Santa María de Catamarca. Debajo, menhires auténticos de piedras talladas don diseños zoomórficos en cada lado de las señales, como está exhibida en el museo del Tafí del Valle. Fuente: Blog de Alejandro Marzioni.

The notion of the Pachamama has taken Western angles, and there is now a beauty pageant to select amongst elderly women a yearly winner of the title of ‘Miss Pachamama’ in the NOA (Figure 4). Moreover, while the sun (Inti) is arguably the most revered deity of the Andean pantheon, the moon (Chilla) and the Southern Cross is at the apex of spirituality in the Andeanitude, along with Wirakucha, the prophet that foretold the demise of the Inka Empire. Other mistaken nomenclature is given to the mischievous Ikiku or wanderer ‘Equeco’, the Andean traveler that, mimicking the tradition of Buddhists, must be at the entry of Andean houses to bring good fortune every time its cigarette is faithfully rubbed for a wish (Figure 5). Similar marianistic syncretism exists in other Andean regions, such as the cult for ‘María de la Onça’ that became the iconic figure of Caribbean Santería in Venezuela; ‘María Lionza’ is often depicted as a naked woman on a tapir who tames jaguars (Coronil, 1997). This jungle symbolism gives ‘María Lionza’ status as the ‘green’ goddess of the tropical Andes. A similar syncretic observance towards the feminine is displayed in honor of Deolinda Correa in the Cuyo region of Argentina, but also in Chile, Paraguay and Uruguay, whose semi-pagan mythical after-death maternal feeding to the unprotected child is paramount of the folk-religious notion of the nurturing protection that communities of the dry Andes receive from the mountains (Charaudeau & Gentile, 2009). Sanctuaries for the ‘Difunta Correa’ often have bottled water for thirsty drivers on mountain roads. In addition, a male version of the sanctified figure that helps Andean travelers can be seen in Tucuman, Salta, Jujuy and many other provinces of Argentina, where red flags decorate roadside folk-religious altars in homage to Antonio Mamerto Gil Núñez, or Curunzú Gil, who will help pious, generous pilgrims with practical favors from other travelers on the isolated mountain roads (Figure 6). The ‘Gauchito Gil’ displays along the highways are now most numerous than both crosses marking tragic accidents and effigies of Virgin Mary decorating difficult turns or highland passes (Funes, 2009).

Figure 4. Doña Gollita is the new Miss Pachamama in Amaicha del Valle, Northwestern Argentina. Source: La Gaceta de Tucumán.

Figura 4. Doña Gollita es la nueva Señorita Pachamama en Amaicha del Valle, en el Noroeste de Argentina. Fuente: La Gaceta de Tucumán

Figure 5. The figurine of the Ikyku, representing the traveling Andean semigod of abundance and good tidings. Note the syncretic representation of a smoking white man with a mustache, as the iconography of progress and abundance around the indigenous women in Peru. Source: Redacción Trome, Mercado de Lima.

Figura 5. Los figurines del Equeco, el semidios viajero de la abundancia y las buenas nuevas. Note la representación sincrética de un hombre blanco con bigote y fumando, como la iconografía del progreso y la abundancia entre varias mujeres indígenas en el Perú. Fuente: Redacción Trome, Mercado de Lima.

Figure 6. Road side altar for the Gauchito Gil, Mr. Antonio Mamerto Gil Núñez, or Curunzú Gil, who will help pious, generous pilgrims with practical favors from other travelers on the isolated mountain roads. Source: Argentinaindependent.com Photo of the shrine by Kate Granville-Jones.

Figura 6. Un altar a la vera del camino para el Gauchito Gil, el Sr. Antonio Mamerto Gil Núñez, o Curunzú Gil, quien ayudará a los peregrinos piadosos y generosos con favores prácticos de otros viajeros en los caminos aislados de las montañas. Fuente: Argentinaindependiente.com. Fotografía de Kate Granville-Jones.

3.5. Politics of place and Andean spacialities

As the previous analysis portrays, the misnomers constructed a false Andeanity and a weak Andeaness, with scant relation to Andeanitude (Sarmiento et al., 2017). Further complicating the target for a common identity in the Andes, historical accounts and modern behaviors of political isolation, competition, even conflicts between groups of original people, have had lasting consequences in contemporary efforts of integration. These ethnic cleavages exacerbated by poverty and political violence made the Andean arc an amorphous, dislocated region whereby tradition and political violence exacerbate the marginalization of mountain communities (Mauceri & Burt, 2004). Discourses associated with the likelihood for common markets and open frontiers of the Union of South American Countries (UNASUR) dealt with the ideal of homogeneity in the Andean consumer while, at the same time, must deal with the reality of heterogeneous representation, participation and exclusion. Politically active Andeanists, scholars that specialize themselves in specific manifestations of Andeaness, often fall prey of metageographical structures of North-South narratives, paying homage to neocolonial organizations and institutions that have continued the oppression of poor indigenous groups in favor of affluent former Western empires of Saxon, Caucasian, Iberian, Creole or even rich mestizo make-up, in a grand scheme of servitude to the foreign, represented in the iconic Malinche curse (Zúñiga, 2003). In a way, ‘Malinchismo’ in the Andes plagues rural landscapes in favor of urban models of parochial, foreign influence from each of the countries, either along the cordillera or from the foreign global faraway culture, making the primacy of Andean cityscapes stronger, enervating the marginalized, pigeonholed, rural Andean farmscapes.

4. Conclusion and DiscussionTop

Creating strong identity markers in the Andes is imperative to break generational inequities that perpetuate dependency models through economic and socio-cultural structures. Revisiting conventional biogeography in the Andes is of the essence (Brown et al., 2007) if we were to problematize Andean identity with the nuanced grappling of the new conservation movement through biocultural microrefugia at the local spatial and temporal scales in the era of profound farmscape transformation and migration (Donoso-Correa & Sarmiento, 2019). Moreover, it seems that contestation of identity in the Andes must take an international angle in favor of novel ecosystems, manufactured landscapes or domesticated wild lands, not only from current taxonomic schemes but also from antiquity’s traditional ecological knowledge (Isbell, 2008). This switch of conservation priorities is supportive of indigenous revival, sacred sites and regenerative development scenarios in mountainscapes (Erickson, 2018).

A redefinition of the term Andes to describe more than just a cordillera, but an entire ecoregion of the mountainous Anthrome (or the biome highly altered by the human impact), should be comprehensive of Andeanity and Andeaness in tandem. First, Andeanity should be promoted not only in schools and businesses, but also in other mass communication outlets, such as newspapers, television and radio. More indigenous faces should promote beauty concepts (hitherto limited to aspirational European physiognomies), and indigenous rights should be in the forefront of legal debates (hitherto restricted to parochial debates). Several countries in the region give strong support to the creation of Andeanity by offering fashionable trends in public and private functions, with the help of leaders and role models including presidents, ministers, other politicians, priests and the general public. For instance, Internet shoppers now buy jewelry at Andean.com showcasing its indigenous inspired collections. Also, athletes buy their fashionable cloths with such brand names as Paramo, Patagonia, Quechua, Choco or Cotopaxi. These expensive garb collections represent efforts of the global market in branding recognizable exponents of Andeanity. Kichwa is rediscovered as a trade language and it is used to convey affiliation to the larger Latin American identity (also referred to as ‘la patria grande’), depicted mostly by indigenous ethnic groups, now known as “original people” or Pueblos originarios.

The modern trend of switching the naming of geographical features from the traditional Roman sanctorum or the military ephemerides to vernacular toponymy would help to invigorate the quest for Andean identity based in terminology. For example, the newest province of Ecuador, Santo Domingo de los Tsachila, uses the ethnic name instead of the former pejorative descriptor of “de los Colorados”. In Venezuela, the famed Angel’s waterfall is now officially referred to as Kerekapukai meru honoring the Pemon language instead of Mr. Angel, an American aviator. In Chile, many street names in the city of Valdivia that were given in German due to the historical settlement of Germanic origin, have now been renamed to Mapuzungun honoring the Mapuche who were the first to populate the area around the city of Temuco.

On the other hand, Andeaness should be promoted not only in the spheres of individual households but also at the community, village and landscape or regional levels. Incorporating novel approaches of conservation of protected biocultural microrefugia across spatial scales, the intangible and incommensurable value of spiritual significance can be realized. It is often in remote, isolated community conserved areas that biodiversity conservation is strongly supported as a way to sustainable development. We argue in favor of biocultural microrefugia emphasizing that only biodiversity is not enough; we shall consider the entire gamut of complex relationships of adaptation and resilience with the people, hence biocultural refugia are needed in the Andes. A good step forward is presented with the indigenous community of Quilmes near Amaicha in Argentina: in the past, the hegemony was strong in naming the ‘Ruins of Quilmes’ and not managing it as an archaeological treasure, possibly serving hidden agendas of colonial dominance (Sarmiento, 2013b). At present, however, the local communities manage the tourist-oriented operation, offering local guides that explain the “Sacred City of Kylmis” stressing the plight of the Quilmes people extirpated to Buenos Aires when Spaniards dominated highland Tucumán, and claiming for a recognition of its own telluric destiny (Quilmes, 2009). A survey of an environmental anthropologist of Imbabura Province in Ecuador shows that development with identity is what mountain peoples require and aspire (Rhoades, 2006). Hence, assuming a united approach of mountain myth and reality amongst Andean countries, the notion of Andeanitude now refers to the ‘deep Andes’, the critical and radical revival of indigenous philosophies (Sarmiento & Hitchner, 2019). Recently, an innovative proposal to the Satoyama Initiative of the United Nations University (UNU) considers Imbakucha watershed, the motherland of the Kichwa Utawallu and their Andeaness of mindala or artistic entrepreneurship, as the first sacred site conserved in Ecuador, their new option to recover the Andeanity of the tropical Andes, in the quest for identity based on Andeanitude proper.


This study grew as part of a colloquium at the Fundación Miguel Lillo in Tucumán. It was shared with the group of geographers and linguistics at the LASA meeting in Rio de Janeiro, at the International Workshop on Traditional Knowledge and Climate Change in Cape Town, at the Conference of the Americas in Augusta, Georgia, and the II Chilean Colloquium on Socioecology and Ethnoecology in Concepción and a keynote at the Institute for Research on Sustainable Development of the Cloud Forest in Chachapoyas. We thank the communities of Quilmes and Amaicha del Valle in Argentina, of the Mapuche near Villarrica and Pucón in Chile, the Pomacochas in Chachapoyas, Peru, and the Utawallu nation of Imbabura, Ecuador for their interpretation of Andeaness, Andeanity and Andeanitude. FS was funded by the VULPES grant ANR-15-MASC-0003. We thank Teodoro Lasanta-Martínez for his editorial guidance and two anonymous reviewers that greatly improved the manuscript.


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