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According to most recent research, Indians in Ecuador's Amazonian region (the Oriente) lived outside of modern markets and political systems until around 40 years ago. But this view obscures the essential role of indigenous labor in earlier cycles of extractivism and exploitation. Beginning in the 18 th century, lowland Quichua and other ethnic groups were defined as much by their place within long-distance economic networks as they were by their languages or cultures. Using newly discovereddoi:10.4236/aa.2015.51001 fatcat:wyoriquytjczrirx5xwrhlcxrm