Mountains, Kurakas and Mummies: Transformations in Indigenous Andean Sovereignty

Peter Gose


This essay argues that Andean mountains have not always embodied indigenous sovereignty as they do today. The lordly titles that mountains nowbear were, until the second half of the colonial period, held by ancestralmummies and living indigenous political authorities in a previousconfiguration of power. Case studies show how that earlier regime “returnedto the earth”, a development which eventually led to the rise of mountains assovereign entities. This essay explores the processes by which this complextransition occurred and emphasizes the insurrections of 1780-4, whichreplaced the earlier regime with a more democratic community-basedauthority, to which modern mountain lords correspond.

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