Amuesha - Settlements



Except for the large groups gathered into the early missions, Amuesha settlements were traditionally small, extended-family units 2 to 3 kilometers away from other such settlements. At present they live in at least fortyseven small communities ranging in size from two to more than fifty families. The largest community has a population of about 700. Approximately twenty-five of the communities are legally recognized and have land titles, although the amount of land suitable for agriculture is inadequate in most cases. The communities tend to be more stable at present, since parents wish their children to attend school, and land titles, for the most part, are in the name of the community rather than individuals. The school and soccer field are the center of most communities; some also have a small church and a public-health post. The downriver communities (350 to 500 meters in elevation) are usually built along the banks of the Palcazu or one of its tributaries; in the higher elevations (up to 1,800 meters) each household locates near a spring. Formerly, an Amuesha house had a palm-thatch roof, a framework of hardwood poles, and floors and walls of split palm-bark. Today, many Amuesha live in rough-hewn wood-frame houses with aluminum roofs.


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