Ecuadorian President Lenin Moreno received the spiritual command staff from indigenous leaders of Ecuador on Thursday. In the symbolic ceremony at the Cochasquí archeological park north of Quito, the new president accepted the bastón de mando, or baton of the mandate, as he agreed to respect Ecuador’s ancestral heritage and to protect Mother Earth.
At the ceremony attended by Bolivian President Evo Morales, Latin America’s only indigenous president, Moreno said Ecuador owes an “immense debt to the indigenous culture.”
During the event, indigenous leaders claimed to have summoned ancestral spirits to harmonize the new president with the energies necessary to rule in a wise and beneficent manner.
The colorful ceremony included music and dance as well as displays of flowers and grain, signifying the natural bounty of Ecuador.
“I understand that today I am making a spiritual commitment and agree to carry it out with both my hands and my heart,” Moreno said.
Cochasquí, located 30 kilometers from Quito, is Ecuador’s most important pre-Columbian site, and is considered a sacred zone by the country’s indigenous communities.