The Ashaninka (also known as Kampa) are an indigenous ethnic group of people who live in Peru and in northwest Brazil (state of Acre). They speak a language belonging to the Aruak family. In 1993 there were 55,000 people in the group, and 869 of them lived in Acre.
The Ashaninka have a long history of conflicts with other groups of people, from the Incas of the Inca empire, to the rubber collectors who came to western Brazil in the 1980s. The natives have been trying to resist the advancement of unlawful loggers in their territory up to these days.
The area where the Ashaninka live extends over a vast territory, from the region of the upper Juruá and the right bank of the Envira river in Brazilian territory to the watersheds of the Andean mountains in Peru, mainly the basins of the Urubamba, Ene, Tambo, upper Perene, Pachitea, Pichis and Ucayali rivers.
The great majority of the Ashaninka live in Peru. The groups who currently live in western Brazil came from Peru as well, and were pushed eastwards from their lands by peruvian rubber collectors in the late 19th century. In Brazil the Ashaninka are found in five distinct and discontinuous Indigenous Lands all located in the upper Juruá region.
Name and language
The Ashaninka speak a language belonging to the Arawak family. Their language is similar to others spoken by the Machiguenga and Yanesha. There are differences in dialects spoken by the tribe, but their culture is homogeneous.
"Ashenika" is the name used by these people to identify themselves, which can be translated as "my relatives", "my people", "my nation".
Throughout their history, the Ashaninka have been identified with names such as Ande, Anti, Chuncho, Pilcozone, Tamba, and Campari. They are best known as "Campa" or "Kampa", names used by anthropologists and missionaries to designate the Ashaninka exclusively, or the sub-Andean Aruak generically.
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