Since pre-Incan times, native Andean people had worshipped their ancestors, and the custom continued even after the arrival of the Spaniards in the sixteenth century. Ancestor-worship however, did not exclude members of other cultures: in fact, the Andeans welcomed outsiders as ancestors. Invaders as Ancestors examines how this unique cultural practice first facilitated Spanish colonization and eventually undid the colonial project when the Spanish attacked ancestor worship as idolatry and Andeans adopted Spanish political and religious forms to challenge indigenous rulers. In this work, Peter Gose demonstrates the ways in which Andeans converted conquest confrontations into relations of kinship and obligation and then worshipped Christianized and racially "white" spirits after the Spaniards invaded, though the conquering Spaniards prevented actual kinship bonds with the Andeans by adhering to strict rules of racial separation. Invaders as Ancestors explores an alternative response to colonization beyond the predictable resistance narrative, presenting instead a creative form of transculturation under the agency of the Andeans.
Invaders as Ancestors is a fascinating account of one of the most unusual transcultural encounters in the history of colonialism.