In Indigenous Settlers of the Galápagos: Conservation Law, Race, and Society, Pilar Sánchez Voelkl offers an anthropological and historical account about the early arrival and prominent presence of Andean Indigenous people in the Galápagos Islands. Her research traces the stories of the earliest colonizers, who permanently settled on the archipelago, from the 1860s onwards. Sánchez Voelkl argues that their journey illustrates the way multiple notions of nature, race, and society interact to shape a social order in Darwin’s archipelago. Contrary to common portraits of the islands as an example of untouched nature, Indigenous Settlers of the Galápagos provides compelling evidence about the complexities about human and non-human relationships.
Pilar Sánchez Voelkl is a cultural anthropologist and author of Indigenous Settlers of the Galápagos and Masculinities in Corporate Elites in Colombia and Ecuador.
Chapter 1: Ecuadorian Colonization
Chapter 2: Science takes on the Galápagos
Chapter 3: From the Andean Highlands to the Galápagos Islands
Chapter 4: Salasaca Colonos
Chapter 5: The Disappearing “Colono”
Chapter 6: Translating Conservation Law
In this carefully researched and highly readable ethnographic and historical account, Pilar Sánchez Voelkl provides a new understanding of an Indigenous Ecuadorean population, the Salasacas, marginalized not only in their own homeland but also within scientific, naturalist discourses of the Galapagos. Sánchez Voelkl reveals the ways in which racial ideology, the politics of the Ecuadorean state, international tourism, and the transnational conservationist impulse intersect to shape the contemporary reality of native peoples of the islands, as well as their efforts to push back against these forces of displacement and discrimination. The result is a fascinating work of critical anthropology that will interest students and professionals of Latin America and Indigenous social life at all levels.
This book provides a fine analysis that unpacks not only the structural and everyday racism in Galápagos, but also the Indigenous struggle for dignity and respect. In doing so, Pilar Sánchez Voelkl tracks the origins of these issues in Galápagos contemporary history as well as in Salasaca parish history.