Indigenous Culture in the Andes
Andean indigenous culture is systemized on the basis of live thought lived in the present, and knowledge inherited from ancient Andean civilizations. The indigenous way of knowing is based on holistic observation of nature and the cosmos, and its application in the Andean civilizations ́ social structures.
It is interesting to see how the indigenous political and social system cohabitates with today’s official government ́s system. Principles like dual ruling and the traditional electoral system are still applied in many communities, in parallel to kinship structures, organizational principles between generations, sexes and ages.
Different parameters and principles rule the Andean world, such as relationality and reciprocity, complementary duality, the Andean vision of time and space, and the world ́s sacredness. Pre-Colombian cultures integrated cosmic laws within their architecture. For a farming-based society, such as that of the Incas, the sun, moon, stars and constellations were of central importance, playing a pre-eminent role in religious practices. The locations of places of worship were determined by alignment of the landscape with important astronomic observations. Indigenous conceptions of architecture are influenced by astronomical events, resulting in master architectural works that consciously integrate time in space.
In traditional communities the ritual calendar is still based on these celestial cycles, particularly for agricultural activities and celebrations. Through keen and precise observation, predictions are made of climatic behavior patterns that influence the quality of future harvests.
History is not a transitory past; rather it is a fundamental part of the present that the Andean people represent and ritually enact through celebrations that include dance and music. Through dance, Andean cosmology, agricultural labor, animals, and historical facts are symbolically represented through complex choreographies. These celebrations indispensably include music as part of the symbolic ritual process. Music is a part of nature and daily life that unifies and interrelates.