PROJECT AIMS: The Asháninka aim is to develop the use of photography over the next few years an educational and advocacy tool to catalog and archive the Asháninka environment, culture and lifestyle; to document projects of combined economic activities with the controlled use of natural resources, so as to preserve their culture and their territory and have a say in the conservation of their lands.
THE ASHÁNINKA are the second largest indigenous group in Peru, they live in the rainforests near the main headwaters to the Amazon River. Their ancestral lands lie in the central rainforests of Peru in the Provinces of Junin, Pasco, Huanuco, and a part of Ucayali.
Recent History: There are believed to be between 25,000 and 45,000 Asháninka throughout the central Peruvian rainforest, an unknown number of them have chosen voluntary isolation and moved further into the interior preferring to have no contact with the world beyond their world, and there are known to be 600 or so Asháninka in Acre, Brazil. The "internal armed conflict" in Peru during the 1980’s - 2000’s severely affected almost all the Asháninka in the communities located in the Ene, Tambo and Perene valleys in the Vilcabamba Mountain range. Precise data does not exist regarding exact numbers but it is known that “…10,000 Asháninka were displaced, 6,000 Asháninka died, 5,000 Asháninka were held captive by the Shining Path (a maoist group) in their forest communities, and between thirty and forty Asháninka communities disappeared”. 1.
Future Aims: In 2003 the Asháninka of the Ene River were granted Communal Reserve Rights to a portion of their ancestral lands, and a national park was demarcated: Otishi National Park. In the aftermath of the conflict the Asháninka in the affected areas have been rebuilding their fractured societies, creating and developing various projects to protect their land, document and archive its use for a greater say in the conservation conversation, and startup commercial, ecologically sustainable proects that benefit their communities in a positive manner.
For more information on other projects and initiatives in the Ashaninka communities of the Rio Ene, Perene and Tambo valleys, please see the following links:
Tsimi – the Asháninka Bioclimatic Association
SANCORE Association of Asháninka Coffee producers
CARE Central Ashaninka del Rio Ene
ACPC Asociacion Cutivireni
Betty & Taylor's of Harrogate
The Rainforest Foundation, UK