ETHNONYMS: Iamináwa, Jambinahua, Jaminaua, Jaminawá, Yamanawa, Yamináhua, Yaminaua, Yamináwa, Yumináwa
The Jamináwa live widely dispersed in the state of Acre in Brazil, in eastern Peru, and in northern Bolivia. Estimates of their population vary from 1,200 to 2,467. Some 359 live on the Chandless, Iaco and Acre rivers in western Brazil. Another 200 to 600 are located in Peru on the Curiuja and upper Purus rivers; on the Mapuya, Huacapishtea, and possibly other upper tributaries of the Juruá; and also possibly in the Manu Biosphere Reserve. A third group of 150 Jamináwa occupy part of the Tahuamnu in Bolivia.
The Jamináwa speak a Panoan language, although whether it is a language separate from those spoken by the Sharanahua, Mastanawa, and Marinahua is unclear, since they can understand one another's speech to some extent. Subgroups of the Jamináwa living at Paititi, the community on the Río Huacapishtea, are: Chandinahua (Chaninawa), Masronhua (Masrodawa), Nishinahua (Nishidawa), Chitonahua (Chitodawa), and Shaonahua (Shaodawa). The latter two seem to have a lower social position than the others, possibly because their ancestors were captives. The Jamináwa are culturally closely related to the Marinahua, Choshinahua, Cashinahua, Sharanahua, and Fichinahua peoples.
An important factor in Jamináwa history was the rubber boom of the early twentieth century, which caused significant depopulation in this region owing to slavery, violent confrontation, and disease. Some of those that remained, among them probably the Jamináwa, fled up the rivers to isolate themselves from Whites.
The Jamináwa traditionally were mobile, obtaining much of their food by foraging. During the 1960s some of them came into continuous contact with Whites and have become more agricultural. In exchange for merchandise, men of the Paititi community work for a Peruvian patrón as loggers and hunt animals for their skins. For subsistence they depend on slash-and-burn agriculture, hunting, and fishing. They still prefer mobility to a sedentary life, however, and this has rendered their agricultural efforts less profitable. They now speak Spanish or Portuguese in addition to their own language and wear Western clothing.
The various Jamináwa bands are in differing stages of acculturation, and some remain extremely isolated. Intertribal raids, which contribute to dispersion, still take place. In the late 1980s the Paititi community was attacked by the Marinahua, and relations with the Amahuaca are not always friendly.
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NANCY M. FLOWERS