According to legend, Cumbe ruled the Colombian community of Cumbal during the Spanish invasion. Although there is no documentation of Chief Cumbe's existence, today's Cumbales point to him as their link to Pasto ancestors. His image reappears often in popular music, theatre, community organization and militant politics as the Cumbales attempt to reinvigorate their indigenous heritage and reclaim their lands. Joanne Rappaport examines the Cumbales' reappropriation of history and the resulting reinvention of tradition. She explores the ways in which personal memories are interpreted in non-verbal expression, such as ritual and material culture, as well as in oral and written communication. This approach aims to make a contribution both to our understanding of ethnic militancy in the Americas and to the broader methodological discussion of historical consciousness under colonial domination.