The Shuar people live in the Amazon Jungle. They are the only tribe in the Americas that has never surrendered to anyone or signed a peace treaty with anyone. The Incas, the Spaniards, the governments of Ecuador, Peru, and the United States have all tried to push them off their land to no avail. The Shuar faught and won a war against Peru in 1995. They consider themselves to be the bravest warriors in the world. It is their tradition to shrink the heads of their defeated enemies; they call the shrunken heads tsantsas. They believe that war is necessary if the jungle is to live in peace and thrive and that men have a responsibility to make sure that peace includes all the plants, animals, rivers, and insects "Peace without peace for all is not true peace."
The Shuar believe that when you die you shapeshift into something else and that there is a magic that is called arutam that was created by their ancestors when they died and transformed themselves into animals. The arutam is believed to be present in all aspects of nature.
Gender roles are very stongly defined in the Shuar culture. The women, although they stay at home and prepare food and tend to the young seem to have a fair bit of the power; the men are obedient to their wives. A woman has the right to a man's house and posessions should she choose to leave him, a man however, is not permitted to leave his wife. Men cut trees for building homes and dugout canoes, hunt animals for protein (primarily wild boar hunted with spears and blowguns), and kill other men when it's necessary. Women tend the gardens and collect plants in the forests, raise children, and make chicha, a sacred beer that only women produce by preparing the manioc root in a special process, then chewing and spitting it into a large pot to ferment. The women also have the job of keeping the men from overdoing ther duties so they don't hurt nature:
When enough of this has been done, they might say, "Our house is too large already," or "Don't go hunting today; we've eaten enough meat this week." We men laugh about this. "Stay home and make love today," they say. We obey.
Sex seems to play an important role in the Shuar culture. The women are charged with the duty of teaching the young males the art of pleasuring a woman in the act of love-making.