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The Asháninka of the Peruvian Amazon

Listed under Traditional Cultures in Peru.

  • Photo of The Asháninka of the Peruvian Amazon
  • Photo of The Asháninka of the Peruvian Amazon
  • Photo of The Asháninka of the Peruvian Amazon
  • Photo of The Asháninka of the Peruvian Amazon
Photo of The Asháninka of the Peruvian Amazon
Photo by flickr user quinet
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The Asháninka are an indigenous group living along the Rios Ene and Urubamba in the Peruvian jungle. Theirs is an amazing story of survival and development. In the 1980's the Asháninka were forced to flee their native territory when the Senderistas (Peruvian Maoist Revolutionaries) took over, with many escaping thanks to a brave pilot and his little Cessna who airlifted them to nearby Rio Urubamba. The Asháninka were forced to rearrange their lifestyle after this period, living in larger communities for safety as well as adapting to lesser-known areas for hunting and gathering.

The newest Asháninka enemies are the logging companies, desperate to get their hands on the mahogany in the rainforest. The Asháninka are recognised as an authority on jungle plants, in particular on the ayahuasca vine and its hallucinogenic properties. These are used to contact the spirit world, to speak with and learn from ancestors during ritual ceremonies.

Asháninka people have proved their resilience and continued to adapt to the changes in lifestyle, working to improve life quality while maintaining their cultural roots and history. Having embraced ecotourism, The Asháninka now invite small groups of visitors to observe and learn about their ancient way of life.

Written by  Amber Due.

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