chapter  4
‘As if I was sleeping, and then I woke up!’: Chacabamba and Tungasuca, Peru
Pages 52

In Peru, the search for reliable data on the indigenous peoples is co mpli - cated: first, because the range of external and self-denominations (such as andino, serrano, campesino, cholo, nativo, indígena) is broad and dynam ic (De la Cadena 1998; Lucero and García 2006); second, because the label ‘indi - g enous’ continues to be associated with negative markers such as backwardness, servitude and poverty (Degregori 1998: 168; Yashar 2005: 226, Fn 4); and third, because estimations on the proportion of the indigenous population vary considerably between 15.7 per cent according

to the 2007 Census of the National Institute of Statistics and Informatics (INEI) in which the mother tongue was used as the only indicator for selfidentification,1 35-40 per cent according to some analysts (e.g., Yashar 2005: 225-226) or even 47 per cent (Barié 2003: 479; see also Van Cott 2005: 141-142). Adopting the arguably narrow data from the National Census of 2007 and the II Census of Indigenous Communities of the Peruvian Amazon 2007 in order to obtain an idea about the numbers of these peoples, 3,360,331 persons (of a total of 25,810,331 Peruvians above the age of three) were Quechua speakers, constituting thereby the largest group with about 83 per cent of the entire indigenous population. They were followed by 443,248 Aymara speakers, accounting for 11 per cent of the indigenous population. Both groups were concentrated residentially in the Andean highlands (Sierra), but also represented a considerable number of residents in urban areas (45.7 per cent of the Quechua and 43 per cent of the Aymara, respectively). This picture is complemented by a (still underestimated) diversity of 51 ethnic groups spanning eleven linguistic families who are dispersed across eleven north-eastern Depart - ments of the Peruvian Amazon. Their total number amounted to 333,975 persons according to the 2007 Census, with the Asháninkas as the largest group (88,703 persons). The Department of Cuzco, where the two com - munities studied in this chapter are located, ranged among the four departments in which Quechua speakers accounted for more than half of the overall population (51.4 per cent or 566,581 persons).2