Yagua Indigenous Community | Photo Gallery

 

Photos © J. Mazzotti

Yagua People

Yagua people are an indigenous people in northeastern Peru, numbering approximately 6,000. Currently, they live near the Amazon, Napo, Putumayo and Yavari rivers and their tributaries. There are Yagua communities near to Iquitos City that can be visited by tourists. Some Amazon Lodges in Iquitos incorporated these natives as workers and their tour programs include visiting to their communities where you can appreciate and purchase their crafts or enjoying a performance of music and dance.

Their language is classified as a Peba-Yaguan language.

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.

The tremendous distances between villages make it very difficult to have consistent interaction with Yaguas outside of one's home village. All economic activity outside of the village is with non-Yagua peoples, usually Spanish-speakers. Thus there is economic and social pressure to learn Spanish and assimilate to the general Peruvian culture.

Villages are also characteristically quite small (2 to 30 families). This fact further limits the breadth of interaction with other Yaguas, and increases the tendency to want to reach out beyond one's village for social and economic advantages.

However, the Yagua culture and language do continue to be viable, especially in some of the larger and more isolated communities. Some children grow up speaking only Yagua, and native arts and crafts are a significant economic activity.

Source:Wikipedia

Yaguas Community

  • Yagua Natives

    Yagua Indigenous Community

    © J. Mazzotti

  • Yagua Natives

    Yagua Indigenous Community
    © J. Mazzotti