The Harakbut are an Amazon ethnic group that inhabits the banks of the Colorado, Madre de Dios, Inambari, Yshiri, Punkuri and Malinowski rivers, between the regions of Cusco and Madre de Dios in Peru. Although they call themselves Harakbut, they are also known as Amarakaeri.
The Harakbut are threatened by large-scale illegal gold mining that has been going on for about twenty years. In the recent years, the Harakbut discovered some big rock formations “not only similar to a human face but clearly similar to a profile of Andean roots”, “covered in moss”, about eight metres high, facing east, “towards Inti” [the Inca Sun God], standing in a “presidential” position over a waterfall that “marks it out from any other rock.” The discoveries could perhaps open up a gate to sustainable tourism for the Harakbut, offering an alternative to youngsters being seduced to working in illegal gold mining.
In October 2014 a group of nine Harakbut men, accompanied by UK filmmaker Paul Redman, visited the “Rostro”, or the Harakbut face. Watch the film resulting from that expedition, ‘The Reunion’ here.