The Pastaza basin has been occupied by Achuar for many generations. The old gardens, rivers and streams, waterfalls and footpaths throughout their landscape serve to remind them of their ancestors and how they transformed the forest. The landscape is scattered with stories of wars, witchcraft accusations, meetings with forest spirits, large parties and ritual ceremonies.
The land and its resources are fundamental to the Achuar’s physical and spiritual wellbeing. Their territory is the source of their identity and provides the link between the past and the present. Without their territory the Achuar could not continue as a people, as they would not simply be missing food and shelter, but all the resources, material and immaterial which create Achuar minds, bodies and spirits, and sustain their social and cultural activities and memory.
The Peruvian State has recognised the Achuar’s occupation of their land with Native Community titles. However these titles only cover a third of the ancestral lands they use daily for hunting, collecting forest products, during visits to other communities and on their journeys in search of visions from the arutam.