Photographer:Johanna Alarcón
Continent: South America
Country: Ecuador
Project Title: I AM STILL
Project Continent: South America
Project Country: Ecuador
Nominated By: Beth Wald
Seconded By: Simon Newton,

The new indigenous generation facing the “mestizaje” with the strength of their identity show us other possible ways of living in harmony with nature and ourselves as a rebirth without fear of colonialism, the youth that decided to stay in their land, with their family, and develop a lifestyle that combines the modernity and the ancestral knowledge.
It’s a daily life story that explores the world of the Karanki indigenous community located in the north Ecuadorian Highlands as part of one of the four Geological Parks in America and Caribbean. They combine their day between trips to the mountains, YouTube videos, education through WhatsApp, and caring for the animals.
In Ecuador, around 7% of the population is indigenous. During the last century, racism and discrimination played a leading role in a model of life where inequality forced many to migrate to the city, abandoning their territory and culture. Globalization impacted the devaluation of indigenous identity but at the same time fueled an unpredictable cultural resistance in youth. This generation decides not to go out, stay in their communities, and lead the defense of the land and culture, creating another way of living and being.
When I started this story, my childhood memories came back to me, the mountains, the family meals, and those cold mornings with the sound of the river. My memories become more and more blurred, but, in this community, the young people did not let these experiences be a thing of the past.

Lourdes and the river

Lourdes Molina a 27-year-old Karanki indigenous woman relaxes on a rock above the Rinconada river her favorite place where she goes in the afternoons to breathe and sing October 10 2020 Magdalena Ibarra-Ecuador


Pumpkins dry on the roof during the cloudy afternoon of August 14 2020 Chirihuasi Ibarra- Ecuador

teenager's room

YouTube videos with traditional music from the Karanki people are playing in the room of Lizeth a 15-year-old indigenous woman who wakes up every morning singing this playlist October 11 2020 Chirihuasi Ibarra- Ecuador br

Time and road

Roberto Pupiales a 26-year-old rides his bicycle on the roads of the San Clemente community located on the slopes of the Imbabura volcano Ecological transportation and touristic activities are the key for the community economy they have created a sustainable model to care for their territory and identity September 18 2020 San Clemente Ibarra - Ecuador

sheep hearth

Gricelda Pupiales 30 years old and her husband cut their sheep s wool on the morning of August 30 2020 Chirihuasi Ibarra-Ecuador

River Stone

Lizet Tuquerres a 15-year-old Karanki woman takes a bath in Las tres cascadas on the morning of August 13 2020 Imbabura-Ecuador

Karanki Women

Gricelda Pupiales 30 years old poses for a portrait during her visit to the Rinconada waterfall She is a Karanki woman guardian of the water She takes weekly walks for garbage collection fire prevention and surveillance to take care of the moor and the sources of water found in the mountains August 14 2020 Rinconada Imbabura-Ecuador


A group of indigenous Karanki people celebrates the pachamanka an indigenous ritual in which food is cooked within the land and then shared with the entire community to celebrate the September 19 2020 San Clemente Ibarra-Ecuador

Home evenings

Lourdes Molina sister chats on her cell phone while she fixes the clothes in her room on the night of October 10 2020 Magdalena Ecuador

Sisters in the fog

Karanqui s women walk together in the moors of their community on the night of August 13 2020 Since March the indigenous communities have closed the door to outsiders for the protection of covid-19 infections but they are still protecting the moors The coexistence of women makes this place a living space where the protection of nature and their identity strengthens them together The impact of COVID-19 highlighted human fragility in the face of nature Chirihausi Imbabura-Ecuador