Huarayo - Settlements



Huarayo settlements have always been located on river banks. In the past, they were divided into many local groups—apparently lineages or extended families usually named themselves after the rivers they inhabited (e.g., Ybabianiji, Shanauajo, Na'o, Potoaja, Shamesó). In the 1950s about 150 Huarayo were living at the Fundo Concepción mission, but, after a series of epidemics, the mission stopped its activity. The village of Palmareal consists of two settlements 3 kilometers apart. The lower and larger settlement is a semicircle open toward the Madre de Dios shore. The upper settlement is on the high bank of the Río Madre de Dios, where the Huarayo from Río Tambopata dwell. In the past, the Huarayo lived in a communal house ( maloca ), but today each family lives in its own rectangular pile house with a separate kitchen built close to it. Some of the houses still represent the intermediary type between maloca and rectangular pile house. In this kind of dwelling, the kitchen and the living space are not separated, the wooden floor of the living section is raised on piles, and the kitchen floor is earthen. This sort of residence also has separate gable roofs of yarina- or kisnei- palm-leaf thatch for the living area and the kitchen. The walls are made of inferior-quality boards obtained from lumberjacks working there some years ago.


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