The Western world appreciates with interest the dissemination of the news of a lost town in the Peruvian Andes with typical features of the Inca culture, this nation declared cultural heritage in Peru since 2007 is located in the province of Paucartambo, in the same district name, 200 km east of the city of Cuzco, the ancient capital of the Inca Culture. The Q’ero nation is composed of 5 communities of which the Hatun Q’ero is the most important, located at a height of 3700 meters above sea level. It has a social organization similar to the ayllus of the Inca period. The Q’ero make up an approximate population of 2,500 villagers who carry out their productive activities in three specific ecological levels: In the lower part (Monte) the corn is cultivated at a height that ranges from 1,500 to 2,500 meters above sea level. Then we have the middle part (Qheswa) where the potato is grown at a height between 2500 and 4000 meters above sea level. Finally, the upper part (Puna) where the comuneros are dedicated to the raising of alpacas and llamas at a height higher than 4000 meters above sea level.
Knowing the Q’ero worldview, allows us to understand the substantial ideosincracia of the Andean world, a harmonious way of life and splendor interrupted 500 years ago by the Hispanic presence. The scholars and researchers say that the Q’ero present models of social, productive and religious organization intact, preserved in the line of time that date back precisely to the Inca period. The territory occupied by the Q’ero communities is still considered difficult to access for modern civilization. The road access built in the last decades in the province of Paucartambo has made it possible to strengthen the contact of the Q’ero world with the State and Peruvian society. For several centuries the occupied area Q’ero has been at the beginning of colonial jurisdiction and after independence, estates owned by Creole landowners, in no case was able to completely align the civil population with the new official religion or with education of western provenience.
An expedition carried out by anthropologists and ethnology and folklore scholars headed by Oscar Nuñez Del Prado was able to determine in the 60’s of the last century, the presence of elements, behaviors, language, myths and traditions that were identified as valid since the Inca period It was probably the beginning of the threshold of encounter between a lost world and the current Western civilization. At the present time there is a vast documentation about the Q’ero nation, the sociodemographic, linguistic, anthropological and audiovisual researches have allowed the opening to the world of this millennial cultural legacy.
MODERN MYTHS ABOUT THE Q’ERO
The opening of the Q’ero communities to the globalized world has allowed to know the essence of the Andean ideosincracia and paradigm, nevertheless this opening has provoked – as it was to be expected – exaggerations and modern myths about the life of these peaceful Quechua settlers. The exposition of the present myths have the purpose of contributing so that the Q’ero culture retains its ethnohistorical essence, as a patrimony of the Peruvian culture, and because not of humanity.
THE Q’ERO ARE THE INHABITANTS OF THE CLOUDS.
In some mystical circles, one can say unfoundedly that the Q’eros inhabit above the “5 thousand meters”, which is why they are protected by the heights of the mountains and the constant presence of mist in the place. Today we know that the Q’ero form a macroayllu that moves and occupies three ecological levels that vary from the 1500 meters above sea level. with access to the high forest or mountain, to the point of 4500 meters above sea level. Ideal medium for grazing llamas and alpacas. The Q’ero population, however, inhabits an average height of 3,700 meters above sea level. The presence of fog is due to the contrast of cold Andean winds with the influx of heat from the high Peruvian Amazon.
THE Q’ERO LIVED ENCERRADOS IN THE ANDEAN HEIGHTS FOR 500 YEARS.
We hear of a “lost world” or enclosed in time, an indigenous population that has known how to self-preserve even after the Spanish occupation in the sixteenth century. Even if the Q’ero territory seems inaccessible to the western world, this is difficult to sustain due to the efficiency of the Inkas road network (Qhapac Ñan), which covered the entire Tawantinsuyo territory and allowed all ayllu to maintain external contact for reasons of commerce, barter, festivities and / or social representation. When the Tawantinsuyo was subdivided and distributed at the time of the colony for its administration, it is probable that the Q’ero as a whole community, have taken part forzoza in the colonial mitas or minkas and with tributary obligations to which all Inca ayllu was submitted .
THE Q’ERO ARE THE LAST INCAS.
Probably they are, but we must consider that the Inca culture is impregnated in the blood of every Andean resident, throughout this vast territory. There are, for example, hundreds of scattered indigenous communities in the heights of the Andean mountains of regions such as Apurimac, Ayacucho, Huancavelica, Arequipa, Cusco and Puno, with ethnographic profiles similar to Q’ero, which in the same way preserve ancestral customs and traditions that They date back to pre-Hispanic times.
THE Q’ERO PRESERVE THE PURITY OF THE INCA BLOOD.
Similar to the previous myth, the Q’eros probably retain a good part of the Inca DNA in an irremovable way, although it is probably worth considering that after the Spanish occupation the Peruvian territory was subjected for 5 centuries to a constant process of ethnocultural miscegenation, which makes difficult to distinguish someone who has an unbroken lineage of blood. At present, the Q’ero like all the indigenous communities present / display numerous names and surnames of western origin fruit precisely of this syncretic process of cultural convergence.
THE Q’ERO ARE DESCENDANTS OF THE INCAS OF VILCABAMBA.
When we talk about the Incas of Vilcabamba, we refer to the history of Manco Inka, one of the last Inka rulers revolted against the colony in the second half of the 16th century, occupying a region adjacent to the current Q’ero territory. In the beginning, this Inca younger brother of Huáscar and Atahualpa was referred to as monarch by the Spanish crown itself, as a political and religious strategy to achieve the cooperation of the population with the colonization process. When the rebellion was crushed, the Inca army was decomposed and moved into different conquered territories in order to carry out forced labor. It is probable that yes, after the capture and execution of the rebel leaders, the feeling of rejection and nonconformity is maintained for centuries in the civilian population, as evidenced by the oral traditions transmitted to this day.
THE Q’ERO ARE DEDICATED ONLY TO SHAMANISM.
With the Q’ero the knowledge or ancestral wisdom has been enriched remarkably, that can not be denied and we must thank the contribution to spirituality by the Q’ero shamans. Probably the mistake is made to think that the Q’ero are a group of shaman masters who are dedicated solely to the reading of the coca leaf and to celebrate the offers with the pachamama. Actually the Q’ero are much more than those precepts, this nation has an impressive folkloric wealth, nuanced by its dress, costumbrismo, music and dances. For the Q’ero, spirituality is necessarily linked to the lifestyle of the Andean people, which should not neglect other important aspects such as productive life, social organization or local festivities.
THE Q’ERO ONLY SEEK TO FOSTER SPIRITUAL TOURISM.
In recent years the Q’eros have become part of the mystical tourism routes, which has a positive side, as it obviously allows attracting economic resources from tourists from abroad that benefit the Q’ero families, the controversy factor it is found in the abuse that this specific type of activity may bring on the part of the foreign capitalist and that for a time this part distorts the original ancestral practices losing its essence with the sacred.
THE Q’ERO ARE ARTIFICES OF THE INKARRI MYTH.
Thanks to the Q’ero we know in detail one of the original versions of the myth of Inkarri, that is to say that “feeling” -precisely- of the return of the Inka to bring order to the territory of the Tawantinsuyo after 500 years after the last pachacuti or period of great changes. The version of the Q’ero demonstrates the subsistence of the oral traditions that are passed from generation to generation for centuries, however the presence of this myth has been demonstrated in other high Andean indigenous communities about the return of the Inca monarch, such as that found by Josafat Roel Pineda and José María Arguedas in the South of Ayacucho several decades ago.
The Q’ero are an important original culture not only for Peru, but for all humanity. Currently, they live alerted by the threat of mining their lands and the illegal cultivation of the coca leaf by drug traffickers from the Amazon region. Q’ero deserve to be heard and understood in its essence and true dimension, considering that spirituality and daily life are axes that go in the same direction, so it is not convenient to speak of Q’ero spirituality without considering its culture, music, folklore, thought, economic production or oral traditions, the Andean world is a holistic universe where everything is united and therefore, every aspect of reality deserves to be considered with equal opportunities.
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