The Ashaninka, A Threatened Way of Life

The Ashaninka are one of the largest indigenous groups in South America, their ancestral homelands ranging from Brazil to Peru. Since colonial times, their existence has been difficult -- they have been enslaved, had their lands taken away or destroyed, and were caught up in the bloody internal conflict in Peru during the late 20th century. Today, a large communal reserve set aside for the Ashaninka is under threat by the proposed Pakitzapango dam, which would displace some 10,000 Ashaninka. The dam is part of a large set of hydroelectric projects planned between the Brazilian and Peruvian governments - without any original consultation with the Ashaninka. Bowing to recent pressure from indigenous groups, development one other dam in the project, the Tambo-40, has already been halted. The Pakitzapango dam on Peru's Ene River is currently on hold, though the project has not been withdrawn yet. Survival International has collected these images of the Ashaninka and their threatened homeland, and provided the text below, written by Jo Eede.

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