The Matsigenka are an indigenous people of population over 7700 people in the Amazon Basin jungle regions of southeastern Peru east of Machu Picchu and close the the Bolivian and Brazilian borders. Along with two other tribes who share the Manú Biosphere Reserve, the indigenous Matsigenka tribe thrives in a region of astonishing biodiversity. 

Here is an interesting article on spinning, weaving and womanhood to introduce you a bit further to the Matsigenka.



Village Life

The average tribal woman marries around age 16, and women have an average of eight to ten pregnancies. As with many indigenous tribes, the mortality rate for infants is high. During meals, men always eat first, while the women and children divide what remains.

The tribespeople wear a homemade tunic, called a cushmas, with a V neck for men, and straight neck for women. Their huts are fashioned from palm tree poles as a frame, with palm leaves thatched for the roof. Each extended family group is governed by a self-appointed “headman".

Agriculture & Subsistance

They form a hunter-gatherer culture for most part. The main crop grown is cassava. During the dry season, the Matsigenka also use fishing to supplement the protein in their diet.

The Spirit World

The Matsigenka are classified as animists in religion. For the Matsigenka of the Peruvian Amazon, health and well-being in daily life depend upon harmonious relationships within the social group and with the spirit world. Psychoactive plants play a crucial role in curing disrupted social relationships while giving humans access to the otherwise remote, parallel world of spirits. Different species and cultivars of psychoactive plants, as well as varying admixtures and doses, are used to obtain different intensities and qualities of psychoactive experience, depending upon the individual's goals. 

Strongly psychoactive plants are used by shamans to travel to the realm of spirits. A number of mild to strongly psychoactive plants are used by male hunters to purify their souls and improve their aim. Mildly psychoactive plants are used to improve women's concentration for spinning and weaving cotton, to control negative emotions such as grief and anger, to manipulate the content of dreams, and to pacify sick or frightened children.



Information Referenced from Wikipedia and Glenn Shepard
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