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Celebrating Afro-Ecuadorians

Tuesday, October 05, 2010
My whole shtick as the principal blogger at OBG® is about celebrating culture, so when there's a month that officially and nationally celebrates one particular culture, I'm always ready to put on my party hat. 
Truth be told, however, I don't really need any official this or that to acknowledge culture because I'm fascinated and interested 24/7/365. I live in a part of California that is a genuine melting pot and living here truly fuels my personal interests. I am my own version of a rainbow child:  multicultural, accepting of everyone, and insanely curious.  I flash peace signs in photographs and I really mean it.  I believe that it's natural for birds of a feather to flock together, but I am committed to the notion that the birds would have far more interesting places to fly if they just stopped flapping their wings long enough to check out and possibly even fly with birds from another mother.  (Laughing at my own analogy.)  I'm sure you get where I'm coming from.  Now on to what matters most.
PHOTO of Ecuadorian family
Hispanic Heritage Month ends October 15 and I really wanted to celebrate by blogging about something specifically relative to Hispanic Brown Girl culture that I hadn't blogged about in the past, but more importantly, I wanted the post to be unique and interesting, so I've been holding off until The Right Idea came along.  Fast forward to last week when my friend Monte and I were having one of our usual chit chats and he told me that he just made his flight arrangements to go back to the rain forest in Ecuador this November for a long overdue sojourn.  The last time he came back, I bugged him repeatedly to give me one of the delightful photos he took of a little Ecuadorian Brown Girl and I still have it in a frame.  This time, he said, he wanted to go to where the Afro-Ecuadorians are and I immediately perked up. The Right Idea.  =)

PHOTO of Afro-Ecuadorians
courtesy of

I was going to wait until he got back to write this post, but I don't have the patience. So today (and every day) - and in honor of Hispanic Heritage Month - here's a little somethin somethin about Afro-Ecuadorians, another group of Brown people that many might not know any- thing about, but for those that know world history, it's not really that shocking to learn of their existence. 
In fact, when I checked Wiki, they confirmed what I suspected:   "Afro-Ecuadorian[s are]...member[s] of a group in Ecuador who are descendants of black African slaves brought by the Spanish during their conquest of Ecuador from the Incas. They make up 8% of Ecuador's population." says "...Ecuador...has a relatively large Afro-Ecuadorian population, approximately 1.2 million out of a total 13.5 million people according to most sources. About 70% of Afro-Ecuadorians live in the northwestern coastal province of Esmeraldas. This concentration has helped Afro-Ecuadorians retain their cultural traditions, but it has also greatly contributed to their being politically, socially and economically marginalized by Ecuadorian society as a whole.  Afro-Ecuadorians are for the most part not new arrivals to Ecuador. The mention of people of African heritage in Ecuador dates back to the mid-16th century when a ship carrying African slaves ran aground off the Ecuadorian coast. The slaves revolted and escaped to land, where they established a thriving settlement that attracted escaped slaves from other parts of Spanish-ruled South America. Later, Jesuit missionaries set up sugar plantations and imported slaves from Africa to provide labor. Afro-Ecuadorians have, over the past 400+ years, maintained their original African cultural influences and originated a new, hybrid culture that is expressed most obviously in the vivacious music known as Marimba. The coastal city of San Lorenzo puts on Marimba festivals in May and August. Music-lovers from near and far descend upon San Lorenzo for the seemingly non-stop sights and sounds!"
This is good great stuff!  How cool would it be to go to the Marimba festivals?!?!?  I'm excited to see what kind of pictures and tales Monte brings back from his trip.  I promise I'll follow up here (although he is painfully slow at uploading his photos).  In the meantime, Happy Hispanic Heritage Month...this month...and every month!!!!!


MBB Founder and Editor Denene Millner on: October 6, 2010 at 9:11 AM said...

I just LOVE this site... it's so beautiful and juicy and empowering and full of chocolatey brown goodness. Thank you for celebrating brown and sharing your knowledge with others. It's incredible!

And thank you, too, for the lovely note on MyBrownBaby today. I'll definitely look into your program!

Unknown on: October 12, 2010 at 1:11 AM said...

Thanks so much, Denene! It feels good to celebrate and share!

Unknown on: April 14, 2011 at 7:17 AM said...

Update: My friend Monte came back from Ecuador and has been too busy to share his 5,884,945 photos (LOL). I promise to keep bugging him.

Shayurrie on: September 9, 2011 at 5:10 PM said...

Did Monte ever share his photos?

Here is an interesting fact from the census bureau, one of every two children born in the US from 2007 on is Hispanic.

It will be interesting to see what the next census brings as more people are able to self-identify instead of having to select one aspect of their identity over another.

Niurka on: September 10, 2011 at 10:51 AM said...

I found this fact.

Median age, in years, of the Hispanic population in 2005. This compares with 36.2 years for the population as a whole


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