Native Communities

In the immense territories of the department of Loreto, exist populations of native and aboriginal communities that can be visited. The great majority of these groups has been civilized by Catholic missions and they maintain ingrained many of their ancestral habits, such as their art, language, dances, feeding, etc.


These natives in general have great domain of the healing use of the plants and herbs, and hallucinogenic beverages as the "ayahuasca".


Groups or tribes like the "Jíbaros" exist (formerly terrible reducers of heads), the "Capanahuas", the "Boras", the "Yaguas", the "Huitotos", the "Ocainas", the "Remiyacus", the "Mayorunas", the "Cocamas", among others.


Each one of these groups usually keeps as domain area or influences a territory that belongs to the basin of a certain river.


In the whole Peruvian jungle there are registered 64 tribes and sub tribes of aboriginal.


The tourist operators usually offer a visit to an inhabited town of these communities.


Near to Santo Tomás village, the area is inhabited by a Cocama Cocamilla indigenous farming community whose main economic activities are fishing and ceramic making.


Boras of San Andrés

Near to Iquitos city, from the Bellavista Nanay port by chartered boat on the Nanay and Momon Rivers (20 minutes), on the banks of the Momon River. The inhabitants are originally from the area of the upper Putumayo at the border of Colombia, and attracted by rubber fever, they migrated to the place where they live today. They still maintain their customs and cultural traditions, and their festivals and ceremonies are associated with their myths and legends. They paint their bodies for their dances, the usual pattern among men and women being a stylized snake. The "Fiesta del Pijuayo" and the "Danza de la Viga" are the most important festivals, when people wear masks to represent mythical beings and to dramatize mythological episodes about the origin of the world, humans, and the Bora culture. You can purchase local handicrafts in the area.


Yagua Communities

Currently the Yagua live in some 30 communities scattered throughout a section of the Peruvian and Colombian Amazon basin which can roughly be described as a rectangle 200 miles wide and 350 miles long (70,000 sq. miles) extending southward from the second to the fifth parallel and westward from the 70th to the 75th meridian west.


The third earliest documented European contact with the Yagua was probably made by the Spanish explorer Francisco de Orellana in January 1542. While exploring in the area of modern day Pebas, Orellana encountered a village called Aparia, and captured two chiefs named Aparia and Dirimara, as well as some others. These names could conceivably have come from the Yagua words (j)ápiiryá 'red macaw clan' and rimyurá 'shaman' respectively. The former could very well be a village name as well as a name applied to an individual; today clan names are still used by many Yaguas as family names. The word for shaman might also be used to refer to an individual, especially one singled out as a 'chief'. Regular European contact began in 1686 with the establishment of a Jesuit mission at San Joaquin de los Omagua, on an island in the Amazon river probably near what is now the mouth of the Ampiyacu River. Though this mission was established to serve the Cambeba people, there was undoubtedly contact with the Yaguas as well. From the 17th century to the last half of the 19th century, contact with the Yaguas was mainly through the Jesuit and Franciscan missionaries. In the early 18th century, Portuguese raiding parties attacked the Spanish missions throughout the Amazon region causing much geographic dispersion of the tribes that were in contact with the Spanish, and inflicting severe casualties. (Espinosa 1955)


The present extreme geographic dispersion of the Yagua, however, is due largely to the effects of the 'rubber boom' in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. At that time Europeans arrived in large numbers from Brazil and began to exploit the indigenous people to extract natural latex from the jungle. Many Yaguas died in conflicts with these Europeans, as well as by exposure to European diseases. Others were exploited as slave labor. Still others fled to remote regions of the jungle. Ever since the rubber boom, the Yagua sense of unity and of common culture has declined.


Ethnographic descriptions of the Yagua are found in Fejos (1943) and P. Powlison (1985). The history and migrations of the Yagua are described in Chaumeil (1983). Source: Wikipedia

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