ETHNONYMS: Agouti, Aguti, Horunahua, Marinawa, Morunahwa, Onicoin
The approximately 150 Marinawa ("Agouti people") live in the region of the upper reaches of the Río Purús (11° S, 72° W), primarily in Peru, and possibly in adjacent regions of Brazil. Their language belongs to the South-Eastern Branch of the Panoan Family and is intelligible to Sharanahua speakers; indeed, many authorities consider the Marinahua a subgroup of the Sharanahua who speak a dialect of the Sharanahua language. A fairly large percentage of people have some facility in Spanish. The Marinahua lived in the upper Rio Tarauacá region to the north at the time of contact but left that area circa 1900 because other Indian peoples, fleeing the rubber tappers, pushed them out. Later, they were found living on the Río Furnaya, a tributary of the Embira. They reached their present location in the 1940s; this suggests a generally eastward pattern of movement. In the 1920s, 1930s, and 1940s, the Marinahua fell victim to epidemics of whooping cough and measles, which cut their population in half.
The Marinahua hunt and fish and raise maize, manioc, peanuts, bananas, and plantains in swidden plots; some sell animal skins for cash. Today, a few also work as migrant laborers. The Marinahua did not acquire the technology of canoes and fishing nets until the 1960s.
Pike, Eunice, and Eugene Scott (1962). "The Phonological Hierarchy of Marinahua." Phonetica 8:1-8.
Shell, Olive (1958). Grupos idiomáticos de la selva peruana. Lima: Philological Institute of the Faculty of Arts, Universidad Nacional Mayor de San Marcos.