Intrepid Dudettes of the Inca Empire introduces readers to a series of Inca goddesses before narrating the experiences of Inca women, starting with the Cusco Realm in the 1200s and ending with the collapse of the Neo Inca State in the late 1500s. Full of compassion, victories, tragedies, surprises, intrigue and a touch of humour, Intrepid Dudettes is a unique journey into a pre-Columbian world, spanning roughly 300 years of history.
It starts off with Pachamama, who is the Inca’s version of Mother Nature, their fertility goddess, who is also capable of causing earthquakes. She was, and still, is really important to a lot of indigenous South Americans. In chapter 2, I outline other goddesses and the intersex creator deity. Next, I move on to the women. The stories about the earlier women are quite fantastical- you have a miraculous healing, tears of blood, people formed out of clay and so on. Then the women who lived closer to the Spanish Conquest are a bit more realistic. I describe some girls who were naturally mummified in the Andes mountains and narrate stories about some members of the Inca royalty, one of whom, Mama Ocllo, was crafty and managed to trick another leader into giving over a city to the Incas.
The second part deals with the women who were alive during the Spanish Conquest. There’s an Inca priestess, a local leader, various princesses and rebel leaders. You can find more detail about these women in historical books because the Spanish introduced writing to the continent (as well as slavery, extortionate taxes, European diseases etc). For instance, Quispe Sisa was put on trial for consulting with a witch and a shaman. Then there’s the daughter of the princess Cuxirimay. The daughter was put in a convent but she ran away to marry a musician. We learn about the queens of the Neo-Inca State, who are among the last Inca women to live free of Spanish rule.
Finally, I look at Inca culture in the 21st century and how despite all the Spaniards’ attempts to repress indigenous traditions, many aspects are still around today. For example, people still worship Pachamama alongside their Catholic beliefs and Inca irrigation canals are still in use in certain towns.
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