Throughout its history, various peoples, communities and cultures have inhabited the Peruvian territory. Some of them were more emblematic and known all over the world, like the powerful and imposing Inca empire, whose legacy still
Throughout its history, various peoples, communities and cultures have inhabited the Peruvian territory. Some of them were more emblematic and known all over the world, like the powerful and imposing Inca empire, whose legacy still interests tourists from all over the world.
However, there are other societies with a unique mysticism that catch the eye and interest of those who dare to discover and visit them. We are talking about the indigenous communities of the Peruvian Amazon, as remote as they are wonderful.
To become aware of the importance of these communities, it is worth mentioning that, according to the national census of 2007, there are 13 Amazonian linguistic families, which are grouped into 51 different ethnic groups, and that these are in turn distributed in 1786 communities. These almost 1800 groups of people total 332,795 inhabitants, which represents 1.2% of the total population of Peru. Impressive, isn’t it?
In today’s article, we will uncover five of the most representative indigenous communities of the Peruvian Amazon, some of which have ancestral customs that may surprise you.
- The Ashánincas
They occupied one of the largest known territories, since their domains extended over the valleys of the rivers Apurímac, Ene, Tambo, Perené, Pichis, as well as a small part of the Alto Ucayali area and the interfluvial area of the Gran Pajonal, in the Ucayali region.
They have a tradition of worshipping the Sun, which ends up being the great responsible for the creation of the rest of the important elements of their community such as plants. They have the reputation of being powerful warriors and weapon makers. Today, the people have opened up to new horizons and many have contacts with the outside world.
- The Bora of San Andres
Their origins are linked to the Moron River, located northwest of the city of Iquitos, in the Loreto region. Due to their similar culture, the Bora, throughout their history, have been related to the Ocaina and Muri-Muinani peoples, although they originate from the Alto Putumayo region, located on the border with Colombia. The Pijuayo festival and the Viga dance are some of the most important celebrations of this Amazonian people.
- Kukama Kukamiria
More than 2,000 inhabitants make up the indigenous community of Kukuma Kukamiria, located within the boundaries of the district of Padre Cocha, an island in the heart of Iquitos, near the Nanay River. Among their best-known practices is the elaboration of items of daily use based on clay, in addition to their innate fishing technique. It is possible to visit them as a tourist to learn more about their ancestral customs.
- Shuar Tribe
Also known as Jíbaros, this community, located near the Corrientes River – close to the border with Ecuador – has gained worldwide notoriety for its most famous practice: head reduction.
When the Spanish empire began to conquer the Peruvian territory, the members of this community used this technique to reduce the skulls of the deceased and use them as a deterrent, because they frightened those who saw them. Among their beliefs, these reduced heads had supernatural powers. Today, they no longer practice this and have contact with the outside world.
According to some historians, the city of Yagua, located near the Momon River (Iquitos), owes its name to the Quechua word yawar, which means blood or color of blood. Why did they receive this name? The members of this community had the tradition of painting their bodies with achiote, a typical fruit of the Amazon, which has a color similar to blood. They are very joyful people who like to dance and who like visitors to join in this celebration.
There you go! If you ever want to visit the most representative indigenous communities of the Peruvian Amazon, you know where to travel to. What is the most fantastic community you’ve ever visited? Share it with us in the comments below.