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Diversity of nationalities and indigenous peoples in Ecuador

14 nationalities and 18 ethnic groups are recognized in the country. There are also 13 languages known to be spoken in its areas of influence.

The indigenous nationality is a group of ancient peoples that have constituted the Ecuadorian State, who define themselves as such, who have a common historical identity, language and culture, who live in a given territory through their traditional institutions and forms of social, economic, legal and political organization and the exercise of authority.

Indigenous peoples, on the other hand, are the original communities, made up of communities or centres with cultural identities that distinguish them from other sectors of Ecuadorian society, governed by their own systems of social, economic, political and legal organization.

The following are the indigenous nationalities of Ecuador (CM/Map of Indigenous Nationalities and Peoples of the Ecuadorian Institute of Statistics and Censuses (INEC)).


They live in Pastaza and Morona Santiago, but there is also a population in the department of Loreto in Peru. As a result of colonization and religious influence, their customs have almost disappeared, but they maintain their culture and identity well founded. The god Arutam represents until the present time the “maximum energy” and takes care of the forest. The language is the Achuar-chicham, they maintain the consumption of the chicha of yucca and wayusa, they paint their faces in the parties and the official presentations and nowadays they have focused in the ecotourism.


This nationality, which calls itself A’I, is distributed in the communities of Sinangüé, Zábalo, Chandía Na’en, Tayosu Conqque, Dovuno and Dureno, which occupy territories in Sucumbíos, which also include the Cuyabeno and Cayambe-Coca Ecological reserves, the Alto Bermejo Protected Forest and Sumaco National Park. Women still take care of the family gardens, men hunt and fish, although on a smaller scale because animals and plants are scarce due to the destruction of their natural habitat. They have made incursions into the production of handicrafts.


They speak the cha’palaa and live in Esmeraldas. Several of their communities are located within the Cotacachi, Cayapas Mataje and Mache Chindul ecological reserves and others in their areas of influence. The ‘Uñi Chaitarucula’ or Governor was the one who exercised authority and at present his organizational unit is the centers, which are grouped in the Federation of Chachi Centers of Ecuador (Fecche). Traditionally their economy was one of self-subsistence.

Now they are based on the commercialization of wood, agricultural products and crafts.


The members of this nationality speak the sia pedee, which means voice of a wild cane, and which is in danger of being lost. They also use Spanish. Their population is relatively small, they are settled in the north of Esmeraldas and are a branch of the Eperara Sia (Embera), one of the most populated indigenous groups in Colombia. Their economy is based on agriculture on small family farms, gathering, fishing and hunting for self-consumption and for sale. Crafts and basketry have focused it on the market. They face the migration of young people who leave in search of work.

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