Summary This paper investigates ethnic identity and affiliation among female indigenous Quichua migrants in an intercultural and bilingual kinder garden in the urban area of La Luz in Quito. It seeks to explore their thoughts, feelings and interpretations around three expressions or factors of identity – language, clothing and community of origin. Ethnic identity and its expressions are used as boundary-making devices by the women. The relationship to the mestizo society is explained through a dichotomous contrast visible in relation to each of the three expressions of identity mentioned above; Spanish is contrasted to Quichua, indigenous clothing is contrasted to western clothing, and the city is contrasted to the community of origin. However, as the concepts of ethnicity and identity entail flexibility, so do the women’s maintenance of boundaries. The history of the relationship between the state and indigenous people in Ecuador forms the background of the discussion.