South Ucayali Asheninka in Peru

The Asheninka, South Ucayali have only been reported in Peru
Main Language
Largest Religion
Progress Gauge

Introduction / History

The Ashéninka South Ucayali is one of the least reached of the various Ashéninka people groups in the Peruvian Amazon. Historically, they have had tense interactions with outsiders, suffering enslavement and devastating epidemics during the 20th century rubber boom and defending themselves from terrorist groups in the early 1990s.

The Ashéninka South Ucayali have had some exposure to the gospel since the Peruvian churches and foreign mission agencies began working among them in the 1920s. Since then, the Summer Institute of Linguistics (SIL) and Modern Day have completed a full Bible translation, and other mission agencies have done work in Bible storying in the last 10 years. Seventh Day Adventists have also had a strong influence in the region. However, the gospel has struggled to take root among the Ashéninka South Ucayali, and only one church is known to exist among the 50-60 communities.

Where Are they Located?

The Ashéninka South Ucayali live in the central jungle of Peru where the southern Ucayali River meets the Cohengua and Tahuanía Rivers.

What Are Their Lives Like?

The Ashéninka South Ucayali live a daily subsistence lifestyle connected to the land, collecting enough food for 1-2 days and continually working hard to produce new food supplies. They typically work in manioc fields during the morning and rest during the afternoons. At night, the men will often go hunting or fishing.

In spite of great cultural changes, the Ashéninka South Ucayali have maintained their language and traditional dress to the present day. They prefer small family units to large communities and live in simple homes with a thatch roof, no walls, and a dirt floor. Their traditional clothing is a long cotton dress with vertical stripes for men and horizontal stripes for women, and red face paint is common.

What Are Their Beliefs?

The Ashéninka South Ucayali hold to an animistic worldview that seeks to discover spiritual causes for life problems and resolve them through shamanistic rituals. In their worldview, shamans are specialists gifted at helping people understand the spirit world and heal sicknesses. The Ashéninka South Ucayali believe inanimate objects and animals can have spirits that affect daily life. They fear their dead relatives, whom they believe could cause them sickness or death.

What Are Their Needs?

The Ashéninka South Ucayali need solid biblical teaching about Jesus as victor over the spirit world in order to give them an alternative worldview from that of the shaman. They need more gospel workers who are willing to learn the language and stay long-term among them.

The Ashéninka South Ucayali have very few health clinics. The government has done a good job of initiating schools and mandating bilingual education, but with few teachers who speak the local dialect and an alphabet that uses the spellings from a different tribal language, education remains very confusing for students.

Prayer Points

* Scripture Prayers for the Asheninka, South Ucayali in Peru.

* Please pray for believers among the Ashéninka South Ucayali to continue meeting and growing in their faith.
* Please pray that believers will not become discouraged as they face challenges like sickness and limited discipleship instruction.

Profile Source:   Modern Day and Pioneers  

People Name General Asheninka, South Ucayali
People Name in Country Asheninka, South Ucayali
Natural Name South Ucayali Asheninka
Pronunciation oo-kah-YAH-lee ah-SHEN-ing-kah
Population this Country 17,000
Population all Countries 17,000
Total Countries 1
Indigenous Yes
Progress Scale 1
Unreached Yes
Frontier People Group No
Pioneer Workers Needed 1
Alternate Names
People ID 19568
ROP3 Code 115242
Country Peru
Region America, Latin
Continent South America
10/40 Window No
National Bible Society Website
Persecution Rank Not ranked
Location in Country Ucayali region: upper Ucayali river and tributaries.   Source:  Ethnologue 2016
Country Peru
Region America, Latin
Continent South America
10/40 Window No
National Bible Society Website
Persecution Rank Not ranked
Location in Country Ucayali region: upper Ucayali river and tributaries..   Source:  Ethnologue 2016
Map of Asheninka, South Ucayali in Peru
Primary Language Asheninka, South Ucayali (17,000 speakers)
Language Code cpy   Ethnologue Listing
Language Written Yes   ScriptSource Listing
Total Languages 1
Primary Language Asheninka, South Ucayali (17,000 speakers)
Language Code cpy   Ethnologue Listing
Total Languages 1
People Groups Speaking Asheninka, South Ucayali

Primary Language:  Asheninka, South Ucayali

Bible Translation Status  (Years)
Bible-Portions Yes  (1976–2015)
Bible-New Testament Yes  (2008-2015)
Bible-Complete No
Bible-NT Text Online
Possible Print Bibles
World Bibles
Forum Bible Agencies
National Bible Societies
World Bible Finder
Virtual Storehouse
Resource Type Resource Name
Text / Printed Matter Bible: Ashéninka South Ucayali Bible
Text / Printed Matter Download scripture in this language
Text / Printed Matter Online Bible text (Scripture Earth)
Primary Religion: Ethnic Religions
Major Religion Percent
0.00 %
Christianity  (Evangelical 1.40 %)
1.60 %
Ethnic Religions
98.40 %
0.00 %
0.00 %
0.00 %
Other / Small
0.00 %
0.00 %
Christian Segments Percent
0.0 %
0.0 %
0.0 %
Other Christian
0.0 %
30.0 %
Roman Catholic
70.0 %
Photo Source (Representative photo)
Agência Brasil  Creative Commons 
Map Source People Group location: IMB. Map geography: ESRI / GMI. Map design: Joshua Project.  
Profile Source Modern Day and Pioneers  
Data Sources Data is compiled from various sources. Read more


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