The Awajún or Aguaruna in Spanish, are an indigenous people of the Peruvian Amazon, who speak Awajún or Aguaruna. Historically, they lived primarily on the banks of the Marañón River, a tributary of the Amazon in northern Peru near the border with Ecuador. Currently, they possess titled community lands in four of Peru’s regions: Amazonas, Cajamarca, Loreto, and San Martin. According to Peru’s 1993 Census the Awajún numbered approximately 45,000. World Census data for 2000 lists their population at just over 38,000.

The Consejo Aguaruna Huambisa (CAH), an organization founded in 1977, represents the Awajún and a closely related ethnic group, the Wampis or Huambisa. Since then, Awajún community organizers have founded more than 12 local organizations, including an Awajún women’s federation.

The Consejo Aguaruna Huambisa is widely regarded as the primary political entity representing the Awajún and Wampis peoples. The Awajún, through the Consejo Aguaruna Huambisa, played a central role in national level indigenous movements in Peru and in the founding of the Coordinating Body of Indigenous Organizations of the Amazon Basin (COICA), which represents Amazonian peoples from all over the South American continent.

Through the network Deep in Forests and partner organization Ecotribal, designer Violeta Villacorta met Awajún-Wampis representative Ambrocio Uwak. He connected her with artisans from the Women’s Association of the Nor-Oriental Awajún Region (AMARNO).

In July 2011, upon their invitation, Violeta visited their community to meet the Awajún artisans. This visit started their partnership. The Awajún artisans are a highly talented and skilled group of women who are devoted to their artistry. The exquisite traditional Awajún accessories and contemporary collections, made with seeds and other plant fiber materials, are developed in partnership with Awajún artisans. Visit our online Shop to purchase Awajún Amazon rainforest jewelry and accessories.

Visit our videos section to watch videos of our time in Urakusa.

Photos by Photographer Jeff Cremer.

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