Satipo, Junín, Peru
The Ashaninkas are the most numerous and extended ethnic group of the Amazonia. Ashaninka means “person” and their culture counts on universal values based in the respect of nature and respect the others as basic principles. They live spread around hundreds of hectares in the Peruvian Amazonia and they gather in small communities by the Rivers Ene and Tambo, mainly.
Ashaninkas reject violence and they believe in education as the driving force of human progress. The jungle is their main source of life and they consider it their home. The ashaninkas are not just the inhabitants of the Amazonia, but also the guardians of the jungle.
The Ashaninka Community was one of the most afflicted by the violence and terror brought by Shining Path (Sendero Luminoso), a radical maoist group with a strong sectarian touch that terrified all Peru for more than 20 years. Besides terrorism, active since the 80’s, the Ashaninkas fear that the coca growing fields close to their
area end up occupying their ancestral land. The increasing interest of energy companies, who are yearning for a big piece of rain forest, is one of the main concerns of the Ashaninkas.
Despite of living in an atmosphere of fear and suspicion, the Asháninkas continue to live as they used to, as they are adapting slowly to modern times while fighting to preserve their life style and accepting development providing that their culture is always respected.