Society for Latin American and Caribbean Anthropology
Volunteered - Oral Presentation Session
Tomasz Lidzbarski (University of Gdansk)
This paper explores the occupational plans and perspectives of Huaorani youth’s group living in Eastern Ecuador. A growing body of anthropological literature suggests that young indigenous people plan to leave their family’s settlements in search of better life in the cities. However, preliminary data suggests that this process is not universal.
Research regarding migrational practices of Huaorani youth was carried out during January and February in 2018 in a small local town in Pastaza province, Ecuador, where Huaorani migrants from forest villages settled.
Young people aged 15 to 33 years living in the town settlement were interviewed (semi-structured interviews were used as a mail tool). Additional non-structured interviews were also carried out with teachers, parents and local leaders in order to better understand the context.
Almost all of our respondents indicated their will to stay in the forest settlement. The town and nearby cities were described by them as inhabitable. Migration took place mainly for educational purposes or later work, nevertheless almost all respondents treat their stay in the town as temporary.
Despite the opinion that indigenous youth prefer to move to the cities in search of better life, our research indicates that this model does not apply to all groups. Huaorani youth’s decisions regarding their future prove that they can find their own way through the complicated web of modern demands and by doing so they can also maintain their cultural heritage.