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Q'ero Nation of Peru
The Q'ero Nation is located a one day ride on horseback from the road to Paucartambo in Cusco and is the oldest in the Inca Tradition. They live 4,300 meters high in the Peruvian Andes. They grow and eat potatoes, such as olluco and oca. Children between the ages of 7-14 attend school. Medical assistance is scarce. They work and live as a community of 800 or so people. They marry among themselves and have kept their customs alive since Incan times.
The main activity of the Q'ero, besides agriculture, is weaving. They use natural dyes for their wool. Their techniques and designs are considered to be the closest to those of their ancestors. Their weavings have been displayed at the Smithsonian Museum in Washington DC.
The Q'erobelieve they are the last descendants of the Inca. According to tradition, their ancestors defended themselves from invading Spanish conquistadores with the aid of the local mountain deities (los Apus) which devastated the Spanish Army near Wiraquchapampa.
The religion of the Q'ero is syncretic, consisting of a mixture of European Christianity with elements of the traditional religion of the Andes. Shamans of different levels (e.g., Altumisayuq, Pampamisayuq) still have a high reputation. They worship Mother Nature (Pachamama) as well as other mountain spirits like Apu Ausangate (Apu Ausangate) and other regional deities.
The Inkarri (or Inkari) story is one of the most famous legends of the Inca. When the Spanish conquistadores executed the last ruler of the Inca, Atahualpa, he vowed he would come return to avenge his death. According to the legend, the Spaniards buried his body parts in several places around the kingdom: His head is said to rest under the Presidential Palace in Lima, while his arms are said to be under the Waqaypata (Square of Tears) in Cuzco and his legs in Ayacucho. Buried under the earth, he will regenerate until one day, when he will rise, take back his kingdom and restore harmony in the relationship between Pachamama (the earth) and her sons. The Qero weave many versions of the regenerating form of Inkarri into their mestanas.
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