The Ashaninka are an indigenous people of the Amazon rainforest comprising about 120,000 members, making them one of the largest indigenous Arawakan groups. Their origin is in Peru and their ethnicity has a historical relationship with the Inca Empire. Today, they are distributed mainly in Peru (188,000) and Brazil (2,000), covering a fragmented territory of about 100,000 km² in the past.
In Brazil, the Ashaninka are found in seven indigenous territories, all located in the State of Acre, in the region of Alto Juruá. Demarcated in 1992 by the FUNAI (Fundação Nacional do Índio), the Kampa indigenous territory of the Amônia River borders Peru and contains about half of the Ashaninka contingent in Brazil. The population of this indigenous land lives, for the most part, in the village of Apiwtxa, on the banks of the Amônia River, a tributary of the Juruá River.
The Ashaninka have a long history of struggle, pushing back the invaders from the time of the Inca Empire to the rubber mining economy of the 19th century and especially among the inhabitants on the Brazilian side of the border, fighting against logging from 1980 to the present day. Proud of their ancient culture, animated by a strong sense of freedom, ready to die to defend their territory, the Ashaninka people stand out in the history of the Amazon. Their ability to reconcile traditional customs and values with the ideas and practices of the white world, such as those related to socio-environmental sustainability, is admirable.
The Association Aquaverde works with the Ashaninka and their leader and spiritual master Benki Piyãko on their legally protected indigenous territory on the Amônia River, as well as on territories bought back by the Ashaninka in Brazil.