Foto: Arno Vogel, 1978

Ashaninka

  • Autodenominação
    Ashenika
  • Where they are How many

    AC1.645 (Siasi/Sesai, 2014)
    Peru97.477 (INEI, 2007)
  • Linguistic family
    Aruak

Encroachment by loggers

Following the long struggle during the 1980s against mechanized logging on their lands, the Ashaninka of the Amônia were obliged to face the problem once again at the end of 2000 when Peruvian loggers started invading their territory along the Brazilian-Peruvian border. Despite the tireless resistance of the Ashaninka to this situation, the loggers continue operating until today.

The Ashaninka estimate that around 15 percent of the Terra Indígena along its westernmost boundary has been invaded over the last four years by Peruvian loggers who have opened a series of trails and paths inside the area. As well as illegal logging, Ibama has also identified small encampments of Peruvians along the international boundary and inside the limits of the TI Kampa do Rio Amônia, where temporary laboratories for refining coca base paste appear to be operating.

Following a series of outraged demands from the Ashaninka, the authorities began collaborating on measures to be undertaken. As a result there have been government level discussions between the two countries since 2001 under the aegis of the Bi-national Working Group on Amazon Cooperation and Brazil-Peru Frontier Development. Since 2003 the governments of Acre e Ucayali have been discussing within the Technical Secretariat for Acre-Ucayali Integration the situation of the upper Juruá. Indigenous, pro-indian and environmental NGOs from both countries are also taking part in these policy discussions and increasing the number of joint initiatives under the ‘Transboundary Conservation in the Serra do Divisor (Brazil-Peru)’ project. Between July 2004 and July 2005, 22 illegal encampments were destroyed, 65 people (62 Peruvians and 3 Brazilians) were arrested and 6,000 cubic metres of hardwoods were apprehended and destroyed, as well as animals skins and turtle shells.

Despite the increasing interventions by the authorities, the situation is not yet under control and the Ashaninka of the Terra Indígena Kampa do Rio Amônia remain under threat. Over recent years the growing pressure from loggers has led to conflicts between Amahuaka indians and Ashaninka families living in communities on the upper Juruá in Peru. The Ashaninka explain that these conflicts are occurring because the loggers operating in the border areas are reducing the territorial space available to these ‘isolated’ indians. Logging companies fell the forest with heavy machinery, which scares off the game and the workers firearms push the indians out of their isolation in the direction of the Ashaninka and Kaxinawá villages dotted along both sides of the Brazilian-Peruvian border.