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An indigenous community in Ecuador became cradle of YouTubers

RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – In the indigenous community of Saraguro, located in southern Ecuador, in the Saraguro region in the province of Loja, young people have started to go “viral”.

Through social networks, Saraguro YouTubers have gained importance, and millions of people worldwide consume their content. The people belonging to the Kichwa nationality of the Ecuadorian highlands have become the cradle of internet celebrities.

The name Saraguro does not have a concrete definition but several interpretations. According to the explanation of the Confederation of Indigenous Nationalities of Ecuador (CONAIE), for some, the name comes from sara (corn) and guru (worm); therefore, Saraguro could mean “corn worm”.

For others, the term refers to the dried corn cobs, or comes from sara and jura (germinated), meaning “corn that germinates or grows”. CONAIE explains the various interpretations of the meaning of Saraguro, “it is clear, regardless of its meaning, that its name is closely linked to corn and reaffirms the economic, social and symbolic importance that this has in the life of the Saraguro people”.

Read also: Check out our coverage on Ecuador

Nancy Risol was the first YouTuber to emerge from the Saraguro people, considered a millenary ethnic group in Ecuador. In 2018, the young woman, who was 16 years old, began making videos to post on YouTube and Facebook. In just one year, she reached 100,000 subscribers on YouTube and won the big silver button. In addition, she was nominated for the 2019 Eliot Awards as best comedy YouTuber.

After three years, Nancy Risol has more than 2 million subscribers on YouTube, more than 5 million followers on Facebook, and more than 800,000 followers on Instagram (Photo internet reproduction)

In some of her videos, Risol talked about her beginnings and explained, “I didn’t know anything about social media. I remember I saw a guy on YouTube, and I said, ‘Wow, can anyone be a YouTuber?’, then I started thinking that nobody knew me, and I started with Facebook. Then I uploaded my first video around July, and I had good reception since my first video.”

After three years, Nancy Risol has more than 2 million subscribers on YouTube, more than 5 million followers on Facebook, and more than 800,000 followers on Instagram. Her content is comedy, and she produces them from the vast pastures of her community. Two of her main characters are her little bull and her dog Firuláis.

Risol’s mother, Rosa Puglia, has said that the videos serve “so that (Nancy) can socialize, maybe go to college, so she doesn’t have nerves. She wants to travel, to know other places in the country. Hopefully my daughter’s dream will come true.”

With Risol’s success, other young people decided to participate in the world of audiovisual production. For example, according to the El Comercio newspaper, in 2019, given the lack of family employment, Manuel Morocho, also from the Saraguro community, created the production company Activos.

Manuel’s wife, Tania Sigcho, also collaborated in the Ashukito channel, owned by his cousin Geovanny Tene. There Manuel and Tania learned about scriptwriting, production, and acting. That led them to create their videos.

Manuel and Tania started distributing their videos on Youtube, on different channels, and after eight months of being on the air, they got three silver buttons. Their channels are Jushito, Soy Tania, Reflexiones Tania, Estefany and Jushito Comunica.

Geovanny Tene and Pedro Tene also produce comedy content for YouTube. Geovanny created the channel Adonis that tells the comic situations of Ashukito, a saraguro boy who narrates his adventures showing his cultural identity and clothing.

For his part, Pedro has the Ahora Pit and El Aparato channels. Still, less than a year ago, he also managed the channels of Nancy Risol, Mary Guamán, Uvitas, and Edis Vlogs – Ecuadorian indigenous YouTubers – who now produce their content.

The income they receive for their content on Youtube, say the creators, has helped them have a better quality of life and pay for their families’ expenses.

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