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The symbols were to provide the extirpators with an assurance of permanent effect that they desperately needed, just as they were to provide the Indians with strong memories of their huacas' humiliation and defeat.
For it was in terms of a clear-cut Augustinian opposition between Christians and idolaters, between the camps of light and darkness, between those who had been won over by the gospel and those who wickedly resisted it, that many mid-colonial missionaries and extirpators preferred to interpret the religious reality in Indian areas.
This much Indian witnesses could only partially conceal, but this much most mid-colonial extirpators proved unable to face.
Yet to the extirpator in his role as preacher, they became nothing more than "ugly rocks", regularly soiled by animals and little boys.
Like the person who organized the building of a first church or who rode in a conquering expedition, the seventeenth-century extirpator on a diligencia participated in a new beginning, a potential triumph in foreign territory.
There were also moments of unease, times when what the extirpator encountered in the Andean landscape was intellectually and practically more cumbersome than the survival of purely Indian religious forms.