Alternately hunted and ignored while they were alive, the Tetete were a small group of Western Tucanoan speakers living in the Amazonian borderlands between Ecuador and Colombia. From 1877 through the 1920s, Ecuadorian rubber collectors shot or kidnapped Tetete people whenever they showed themselves. Unlike other groups, the Tetete chose resistance rather than accommodation or slavery. Sometime before 1940, most of the remaining Tetete were apparently killed in a raid by neighboring Siona people. Although three survivors were found in 1966, a persistent legend claims that large numbers were driven to extinction by missionaries and petroleum companies after oil exploration began nearby in 1964. This article reconstructs the final decades of Tetete history beginning with the rubber boom and analyzes their subsequent use by diverse actors in modern political discourse.

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