Wednesday, June 10, 2009


Aguaruna headdresses

These two Aguaruna headdresses are examples of the beautiful feather-work associated with this tribe.
Many of the feathers come from protected bird species, so although the Aguaruna rarely, if ever, hunt specifically for feathers (generally they are a by-product of hunting for food), they cannot and should not be exported from Peru.
In future years, Ecotribal hopes to work closer with the Aguaruna, identifying appropriate crafts, foods and medicines which can be sustainably brought to market.
The name 'Aguaruna' combines the Spanish for water (agua) with the Inca or Quechua word for people (runa).
Known for centuries as "the river people", around 45,000 of them dwell in the rain-forested region of Northern Peru, close to the border with Ecuador.
The Aguaruna form part of a larger ethnic group which extends into Ecuador, known as the Jibaro (or Jivaro), who were known and feared by the Inca and his armies in the late 15th and early 16th century.
These days the Aguaruna grow cash crops (rice, cacao and bananas) to augment the more traditional lifestyle of fishing, hunting and gardening in forest clearings, usually dwelling close to rivers in communities averaging around 250 people.
Some Aguarauna also help to maintain the oil pipeline that heads from their lands towards the Peruvian coast at Talara.

ETHNONYMS: Aents, Aguahun, Aguajun, Ahuahun, Awaruna
The 25,000 to 30,000 Aguaruna Indians live in dispersed settlements along the Marañón, Nieve, Potro, Mayo, Cahuapanas, Cenepa, and Santiago rivers and their tributaries, at an elevations of 200 to 1,000 meters, in Peru.
Early in the twentieth century, they were found on the right bank of the Río Marañón between the Nieve and Apaga rivers (5° S, 78° W).
They speak a language belonging to the Jivaroan Family and may be considered a subgroup of the Jivaro.
At the time of Spanish contact, the Aguaruna had been fighting the Inca for some time, and had been able to avoid subjugation. They were first contacted in 1549 by Juan de Salinas; although contact with Whites caused their population to plummet, they had defeated the Spanish settlers in their region by 1600.
Catholic attempts at proselytizing the Aguaruna failed, and they continued to attack nearby White communities into the 1930s.
In the 1970s many of the Aguaruna groups, taking advantage of a change in Peruvian law, petitioned for and received title of ownership to the lands that they occupied.
Since then, the Aguaruna have been learning to communicate in Quechua and Spanish.
They make their living primarily by swidden horticulture, although they also hunt and fish.
They raise sweet manioc, plantains, maize, peanuts, rice, squashes, beans, wild potatoes, cotton, tobacco, and other crops. Some also raise livestock, tap rubber, and sell animal skins.
Their villages are semipermanent and have up to 150 inhabitants. Villages have become more centralized and permanent as a result of the needs to be near a school and to defend their land against encroachment by non-Indians (which was in the past done by dressing up in fierce-looking costumes in order to present a frightening appearance), and of the government's efforts to settle them permanently.
These trends have made swidden gardening and avoiding witchcraft more difficult.
The old-style oval house has been largely replaced by much smaller rectangular houses.
The village is led by a headman (apu or kakájam), whose power depends greatly on the number and qualities of his kin.
Political differences in the community often result in fission of the village, although old conflicts are sometimes overlooked to allow the formation of political alliances.
Kinship is reckoned bilaterally, and kindreds form an important basis of social organization.
Agnatic kin groups form the nucleus of many village groups. A desire to remain with one's kin has meant that the village tends toward endogamy.
Magic is important. Charms and special songs are used toward practical ends.
These songs are used to aid in seduction, hunting, gardening, and many other activities.
They can be very specialized; for example, there are gardening songs that are used to select gardening sites.
Shamans are of two types, iwishin or tajímat tunchi (curing shamans) and wawek tunchi (sorcerers), although the same person may be both at different times.
Sorcerers inflict illness by using spirit darts, and curing shamans cure by using their darts to eliminate the sorcerer's darts.


Alex Ramirez (Lex-ex) said...

interesante contenido, visitare mas seguido por aca, saludos.

bobby said...

recien descubri este blog , una afortunada coincidencia! , MUY INTERESANTE !!
yo soy uruguayo y en mi pais tenia un amigo peruano que decia ser Aguaruna , muy buena persona , brillante y (como yo) tirando a vago , jeje