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Amazonian Kichwa Proper: Ethnolinguistic Domain in Pan-Indian Ecuador



Pan-Indian organizing and language standardization are key strategies for indigenous activists advancing cultural legitimacy in the contemporary Latin American sociopolitical order. Planned ethnolinguistic unification by Kichwa activists in Ecuador is paradoxically fueling ethnogenesis among Amazonian Kichwas who see language standardization as a threat to a uniquely indigenous identity that is manifest in local Kichwa dialect. This essay examines the accomplishment of this ongoing ethnogenesis through discourses of linguistic differentiation, suggesting (1) reconsideration of reactionary ethnolinguistic boundary-drawing under the new Latin American indigenous order, and (2) renewed linguistic anthropological focus on dialects as political resources for objectifying and protecting vernacular identities. [ethnic identity, Kichwa language, dialect, Amazonia, Ecuador]

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