Pueblos Indígenas

What It's Like to Be a Millennial In the Amazon Rainforest

27/01/2017 Motherboard - Clarissa Wei

Calapucha is Kichwa (or Quichua), an indigenous group that spans parts of South America, including Ecuador.

The Napo River. Image: Clarissa Wei

The Napo River. Image: Clarissa Wei

“Some people think that all Kichwas don’t wear clothes or understand Spanish. Or that we sleep in hammocks and have small houses. And that we don’t have light,” 25-year-old Jaime Calapucha tells me. “They tell me they saw this online. Seriously? Who’s giving out this information?”

Like most 25-year-olds, Calapucha has a Facebook and Instagram account, is updated on pop culture, and enjoys a drink and the occasional night out in the nearest city. The difference is that he has lived in the Amazon rainforest his entire life.

Calapucha is Kichwa (or Quichua), an indigenous group that spans parts of South America, including Ecuador. His town of Ahuano, with a population of roughly 4,000 people—most of them Kichwa—has been quickly modernizing in recent years. It’s still a rainforest town; a great chunk of the population are subsistence farmers, which leaves its youth navigating the line that can often separate technology and indigenous culture.

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