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The Q'ero became more widely known due to the 1955 ethnological expedition of Dr. Oscar Nuñez del Prado of the National University of San Antonio Abad in Cuzco, after which the myth of the Inkarrí was published for the first time. Nuñez del Prado first met the Q'ero on a festival in Paucartambo. He discovered many legacies of the Inca in the Q'ero thought to be extinct.
Geography and historyAndes, approximately 190 kilometers northeast of Cuzco. The hacienda's owners were banished in 1963, and since then the whole area has belonged to the Q'ero. The ground is not very fertile, and the Q'ero live in modest circumstances. They often live in one-room houses not larger than 20 m², made of clay and natural stone with roofs of hard grass. The area stretches over several climates, with elevations from under 1800 m to over 4500 m. Depending on the climatic zone, maize and potatoes may be grown, while in high areas llamas are kept. Fields are plowed with a type of foot-plow (chaki taklla).
The Q'ero ranged from six to eight functioning communities. The full eight communities are: Hatun Q'ero, Q'ero Totorani, K'allakancha, Markachea, Pukara, Q'achupata, Kiko, and Hapu. These Villiages are spread across four valleys that range in altitude from 1,800 to 4,600 meters . The Vanishing Cultures Foundation states that there are only six fully functioning and healthy villages while the 2004 Census lists 628 Q'ero families for a total of 3,786 people. The lower areas of the community are inhabited seasonally, only to till the fields; therefore the housing there consists of temporary huts made of clay and branches (chuklla).
Due to their geographical isolation the Q'ero have no visible Spanish influence such as a central plaza surrounded by a church and municipality buildings. They still follow many Inca traditions like the preserved societal position of the varayoq, he who carries staff. The Q'ero used the Quipu, a knotted counting device used to keep track of herds, and a special flute. Other characteristics found in both the Incas and the Q'ero are the wearing of the sleeveless tunic,Uncu, a ceremonial head covering called a llaqolla. In additiotion to the Uncu and the llaqolla the Q'ero weaved a small bag similar, wayako, used to store the Quipu. Also instead of using a pen and paper to write they weave geometric motifs that all have names and meanings which can be compared to books.
The Q'ero believe that they are descended from the Inca and consider themselves the last descendants. According to tradition, their ancestors defended themselves from invading Spanish conquistadores with the aid of local mountain deities (Apu) that devastated a 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 (Altumisayuq, Pampamisayuq) still have a high reputation. They worship Mother Nature (Pachamama) as well as other mountain spirits, called "Apus", e.g. Ausangate (Apu Awsanqati), [[Salkantai] "(Apu Salkantai).
Until now there were two great ages in the myth of the Q'ero that replace each other by big turning points in history (Pachakutiy) while a new age is still approaching. During the first age (Ñawpa Pacha), the time of the first men (Ñawpa Machu), only the moon existed (Killa). Within the first big turning point of history the sun (Inti aka Wayna Qhapaq, young sovereign) appeared and dried out the Ñawpa Machu. The king Inca (Inkarri) was the son of the sun and father of the Inca and therefore ancestor of the Q'eros. When Inkarri founded the city Qusqu (Cusco) by throwing a golden rod he also created Jesus Christ. The current age (Kay Pacha) was initiated by the arrival of the Spanish and the violent death of Inkarri who afterwards raptured to the sanctuary Paititi. The time of the Incas is often referred to as the Kay Pacha which is also the age of the sun (Inti). This age will end with another Pachakutiy when Inkarri returns converting everything into gold and silver (Taripay Pacha). The sun will burn the world with bad people while good people will ascend to heaven (Hanaq Pacha). The return of the Inkarri is espected soon; a testimony of his mounting is for example the banishing of the Hacendados which so it is said were very cruel.
All age groups speak Quechua, the language of the Inca, specifically the Qusqu-Qullaw dialect, albeit with considerable influence from Spanish language in vocabulary and syntax. Spanish is taught in schools, so young Q'ero people are likely to speak Spanish, especially in Hapu Q'ero.
- Thomas Müller and Helga Müller-Herbon, Die Kinder der Mitte. Die Q'ero-Indianer, Lamuv Verlag. Göttingen 1993, ISBN 3889770495
- Americo Yabar, Orlando Vasquez and Antonio Vasquez, Qero. Auf den Spuren der Q'ero-Indianer in die magische Welt der Anden, Taschenbuch, Vier Türme GmbH, 2000. ISBN 3878685033
- This article incorporates information from the equivalent article on the German Wikipedia.
- Nation Q'ero website
- Blog of Nation Q'ero
- Community of Q'eros website
- Factores que inciden en los procesos de conservación y cambio intergeneracional de la lengua quechua en dos comunidades q'iru, Cuzco, Perú (PDF) (Spanish)
-  (Spanish)