Collection Description

Culture Name


Culture Description

The Pano-speaking Amahuaca live in the upper Ucayali River area of eastern lowland Peru. They sustain themselves by hunting, gathering, horticulture, and fishing. In the past, Amahuaca men worked as rubber tappers and for oil companies. The Amahuaca live in small autonomous villages united by kinship, marriage, and joint cooperative practices. They believe in animal and plant spirits of a generally malevolent nature.


Select the Culture Summary link above for a longer description of the culture.


South America --Amazon and Orinoco




OWC Code


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Collection Overview

Documents referred to in this section are included in eHRAF World Cultures and are referenced by author, date of publication, and title where necessary.

The principal ethnographers of the Amahuaca are Gertrude Evelyn Dole and Robert Carneiro, who did their fieldwork in 1960-61. Both have written culture overviews (Dole 2020; Carneiro 1962). In addition, Carneiro writes about farming (Carneiro 1964 “Shifting Cultivation…”), spirits (Carneiro 1964 “The Amahuaca and the Spirit World”), and hunting magic (Carneiro 1970 “Hunting and Hunting Magic…”). Dole writes on endocannibalism (Dole 1962), marriage practices (Dole 1974), and kinship terminology (Dole 1979). A dissertation by Woodside (1981) examines Amahuaca cognitive development based on Piaget’s structural psychology.

For more detailed information on the content of the individual works in this collection, see the abstracts in the citations preceding each document.

Overview by

Ian Skoggard

Conjugal family – nuclear family – use "NUCLEAR FAMILY (594)"

Domestic cluster – group of neighboring households –use "HOUSEHOLD (592)"

Domestic group – two conjugal families forming a cooperative social unit – use "EXTENDED FAMILIES (596)"

Yoshi – spirit (pl. yoshin) – use "SPIRITS AND GODS (776)" and/or "ANIMISM (774)"

Indexing Notes by

Ian Skoggard

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