Cañar Peace Corps Collection

Colección del Cuerpo de Paz en Cañar

Object Details

Collection LanguageKichwa, Cañar Highland
Language PIDailla:119726
Title [Indigenous]
Language of Indigenous Title
TitleCañar Peace Corps Collection
Collector(s)Wilson, Preston
Mowry, George
Impastato, Michael
Klein, Susan
Catchpole, Thomas
Wetsman, Henry
Adams, Alan
Ashe, Jeffrey
Depositor(s)Blankenship, Judy
Project/Collector Website
Description [Indigenous]
Language of Indigenous Description
DescriptionThis collection contains over 400 photographs and a few documents produced by US Peace Corps Volunteers in Cañar Ecuador in the 1960s and 1970s.

See Canar_Peace_Corps-Finding_Aid-eng.pdf for a list of all files in this collection with English descriptions.
See Canar_Peace_Corps-Finding_Aid-spa.pdf for a list of all files in this collection with Spanish descriptions.

A bit about the Peace Corps in Cañar by Alan Adams:
In the period of Ecuadorian agrarian reform from 1965 to 1970, a naive group of
Peace Corps Volunteers arrived in Cañar tasked with supporting the peasant population's formation of agricultural cooperatives. Young and idealistic, we walked among the indigenous Cañari and were astonished. We conversed with them, listened to them, and desperately tried to help.

And if we successfully provided a word of encouragement, fantastic, however, what we learned was invaluable. As opportunities and occasions presented themselves, some of us had the idea to document our experiences through photography. Unfortunately, my photos were lost. Some of us thought to keep theirs and now these photos are available as part of a historic visual archive of agrarian reform, a decisive period in the history of the Cañari people. It was not a reform that happened to the Cañari, but rather a movement that the people themselves took over, shaped, and created to turn the course of their history.

We photographed what amazed us- - the people, strong in their determination to conquer their centuries-long adversity. We photographed the innate happiness, the profound sadness, the deep-rooted humor and the consuming desperation. There were no professionals among us, we were just young people who wanted to share with friends and family, who wanted to assure clear memories of the spirit of the people we walked hard paths with; who stayed astonished at the strength of a culture we never could have imagined. Parts of the vast Cañari territory that molded those who had lived in it for so many millennia were also photographed. The spirit of the land has infused the spirit of the Cañari people. The union between them and the land, the stones and the steep slopes of the mountains also astonished us.

It is our hope that these photos help communicate the admiration and reverence that we felt as we watched the agrarian reform unfold.

The preservation of this collection was supported by the grant PD-260978 Archiving Significant Collections of Endangered Languages: Two Multilingual Regions of Northwest South America from the National Endowment for the Humanities. Any views, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed herein do not necessarily represent those of the National Endowment for the Humanities.