Dolores Cacuango: Google doodle on Ecuador’s indigenous rights activist on 139th birthday
Happy Birthday Dolores Cacuango!!!
Google today celebrates the 139th birthday of Dolores Cacuango, who was a pioneer in the fight for indigenous and farmers rights in Ecuador.
Also known as Mamá Doloreyuk, Dolores Cacuango was born on October 26, 1881 in San Pablo Urco on the Pesillo Hacienda near Cayambe in Ecuador. Like many indigenous people before her, she began to work at a young age.
At the age of 15, Dolores Cacuango was forced to relocate to the Ecuadorian capital of Quito to become a servant. With new insight into the troubling racism and class inequality facing her people, Cacuango returned home committed to the struggle for change.
Dolores Cacuango never learnt how to read or write, which was one of the first reasons to motivate her to improve indigenous education. She learned Spanish in Quito, where she worked as a housemaid at a young age.
Back in Pesillo, Dolores Cacuango became a leader in the movement against the exploitative hacienda system, and through her dynamic speeches, she advocated for causes like land rights, economic justice, and education for the Indigenous community. She led the people of Cayambe in 1926 in challenging the sale of their community land, setting a strong example for future movements.
Dolores Cacuango contributed to the establishment of the ground-breaking Ecuadorian Federation of Indians in 1944 that united Indigenous people around economic and cultural issues.
Dolores Cacuango married Luis Catacuamba in 1927. They lived on Yanahuayco, near Cayambe. They worked on the land and had nine children, eight died at a young age because of bowel disease due to the lack of hygiene and sanitation in the zone. The only living child was Luis Catacuamba, who became an indigenous teacher in his homeland in 1946.
Dolores Cacuango became one of the active leaders of the historic workers' strike at the Pesillo hacienda in Cayambe. The strike was a milestone for indigenous and peasant rights, and was later the subject of Jorge Icaza's novel Huasipungo (1934). She was an outspoken Communist and was imprisoned for her activism.
Dolores Cacuango died on April 23, 1971. Her last years were difficult as she lost physical strength, became paraplegic, lost weight and couldn't visit communities and organizations anymore.
Google today honors her on her 139th birthday with a beautiful doodle.