Dead Incan rebel keeping hopes alive for Andeans seeking justice

A defeated Incan rebel of the 18th century is keeping the hopes alive of Andeans in Peru for the return of Incan society and social justice .

Ward Stavig, academic coordinator for Latin American and Caribbean Studies, said the historic icon, Tupac Amaru, is partly responsible for keeping spirits alive.

Stavig will discuss how Amaru’s life was influential to the Andeans.

Stavig will speak today at noon in Cooper Hall, Room 459.

Stavig said Amaru’s reasons for rebellion against the Spaniards in the late 1700s and the development of the current Andean religious system are what led to the rebirth of the Incan society.

“In the Andes today, there is a bad economy, and it continues to get worse,” Stavig said. “Life is hard, and there are very few resources.”

Some Andeans believe that the rebirth of the Incan society will help their current economic status. The Andeans idolize Amaru for leading the last Incan rebellion.

“Tupac Amaru was rebelling (against the Spaniards) because of bad government, forced labor on the Incas and tax increases,” Stavig said. “Amaru wanted to make sure the Incas could survive.”

Amaru and his family were eventually captured by the Spaniards and beheaded.

After their deaths, Stavig said the Spaniards became “fearful of the Incas, and excluded them from political activities” because they did not want another rebellion. Peru became an independent nation with “strong racial divisions” and the Incas were left alone.

The Andean religion is syncretistic, which combines Christian and Andean beliefs. This helped create the myth of the rebirth of an Incan society called the Inkarri. The Andeans believe that the Inkarri offers promise that the old order of Amaru’s time in Incan society will be re-established to present day.

“The myth makes the time of the Incas seem better than it truly was,” Stavig said.