Amarakaire in Peru

The Amarakaire have only been reported in Peru
Main Language
Largest Religion
Progress Gauge

Introduction / History

The Harakmbut are a highly divided people group who once consisted of up to 18 antagonistic subgroups, five of which remain to this day. The Harakmbut lived in relative isolation until the rubber boom at the turn of the 20th century, when epidemics of sickness spread by rubber traders decimated roughly 95% of the Harakmbut population. An outbreak of smallpox led the Harakmbut to establish contact with a Dominican mission in 1951 as they sought medical help. In the 1970s, the construction of a road and the arrival of logging and gold mining companies brought them into more contact with the outside world until the Peruvian government made their land into a reservation in the 1980s.

Two missionaries with the Summer Institute of Linguistics (SIL) began working with the Harakmbut in 1957, and the New Testament was completed in 1986. Catholics and Baptists also made early efforts to reach the Harakmbut, and a Baptist mission planted several churches before pulling out in 1969.

In 2000, a mission agency worked with churches from the neighboring Shipibo and Yine tribes to evangelize the Harakmbut, while another agency sent a series of short-term teams to do chronological Bible storying from 2004 to 2009. Some house churches were planted during this period, but they are no longer meeting. Today, some scattered believers remain among the Harakmbut, but they are not actively practicing their faith, and the people group as a whole has developed a strong resistance to the gospel and to the presence of missionaries.

Where Are they Located?

The Harakmbut live in the southern jungle region of Peru in the Madre de Dios department. They are spread out over a large area that spans the Pinipini, Queros, Madre de Dios, Colorado, Inambari, Quince Mil, Araza, Chilive, Malinousquillo, and Punkiri Rivers.

What Are Their Lives Like?

The Harakmbut live a daily subsistence lifestyle based on farming, fishing, and hunting. Principal crops include manioc, sugarcane, plantains, corn, peanuts, and pineapple. Some men participate in logging or mining for gold to receive minimal wages from companies in the area.

Traditionally, the Harakmbut decorated themselves with intricately painted red and black designs, sometimes painting their entire bodies from head to toe. Women wore skirts woven from tree fiber in addition to painting their bodies, and the people used feathers for adornment during special ceremonies. They traditionally lived in communal longhouses with palm thatch roof that stretched all the way to the ground, and they slept on thatch mats. Today, the Harakmbut live as individual family units in small houses.

Coming-of-age rites formerly played a big role in Harakmbut culture, and the people still change their names upon reaching adulthood to signify the change in identity that they undergo in leaving childhood behind.

What Are Their Beliefs?

The Harakmbut hold to animistic views that seek to discover spiritual causes for life problems and resolve them through shamanistic rituals. The Harakmbut fear the spirit world, as they believe all spirits are evil and intent on causing harm. The Harakmbut believe that all life descended from a mythical tree called Wanamey and that a great spirit holds all members of the universe in harmony.

Animals are of the utmost importance in Harakmbut culture, as the Harakmbut believe that people and animals share both ancestors and a special spirit connection. Sicknesses and tragedies result when the universal equilibrium is broken in the spirit world and must be balanced again. The Harakmbut reverence shamans (more commonly called "dreamers"), men who investigate the spirit world to solve real life problems.

What Are Their Needs?

The Harakmbut need renewed efforts at evangelization, discipleship, church planting, and leadership training. They need local opportunities for income other than logging and mining, as well as protection of their land and natural resources.

Prayer Points

Please pray for the hearts of the Harakmbut to be turned once again to a desire for God.
Pray that the Harakmbut believers will pursue Christ, grow in sanctification and their knowledge of the Word, and share their faith with their families and friends.
Pray for renewed, Spirit-led mission efforts among the Harakmbut.

Scripture Prayers for the Amarakaire, Harakmbet in Peru.

Profile Source:   Pioneers  

People Name General Amarakaire, Harakmbet
People Name in Country Amarakaire, Harakmbet
Natural Name Amarakaire
Pronunciation ah-mara-kah-EE-ree
Alternate Names
Population this Country 2,200
Population all Countries 2,200
Total Countries 1
Indigenous Yes
Progress Scale 1
Unreached Yes
Frontier People Group No
GSEC 1  (per
Pioneer Workers Needed 1
People ID 10268
ROP3 Code 100255
ROP25 Code 300244
ROP25 Name Amarakaire
Country Peru
Region America, Latin
Continent South America
10/40 Window No
National Bible Society Website
Persecution Rank Not ranked
Location in Country Madre de Dios region: Madre de Dios and Colorado rivers.   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 Madre de Dios region: Madre de Dios and Colorado rivers..   Source:  Ethnologue 2016
Map of Amarakaire, Harakmbet in Peru
Primary Religion: Ethnic Religions
Major Religion Percent
0.00 %
Christianity  (Evangelical 0.50 %)
0.60 %
Ethnic Religions
99.40 %
0.00 %
0.00 %
0.00 %
Other / Small
0.00 %
0.00 %
Primary Language Amarakaeri
Language Code amr   Ethnologue Listing
Language Written Yes   ScriptSource Listing
Total Languages 1
Primary Language Amarakaeri
Language Code amr   Ethnologue Listing
Total Languages 1
People Groups Speaking Amarakaeri

Primary Language:  Amarakaeri

Bible Translation Status  (Years)
Bible-Portions Yes  (1972-1976)
Bible-New Testament Yes  (1986-2008)
Bible-Complete No
FCBH NT ( Online
YouVersion NT ( Online
Possible Print Bibles
World Bibles
Forum Bible Agencies
National Bible Societies
World Bible Finder
Virtual Storehouse
Resource Type Resource Name Source
Audio Recordings Audio Bible teaching Global Recordings Network
General Faith Comes By Hearing - Bible in text or audio or video Faith Comes by Hearing
General Scripture Earth Gospel resources links Scripture Earth
General YouVersion Bible versions in text and/or audio YouVersion Bibles
Mobile App Android Bible app direct APK download SIL
Mobile App Android Bible app: Amarakaeri YouVersion Bibles
Mobile App iOS Bible app direct APK download SIL
Mobile App iOS Bible app: Amarakaeri YouVersion Bibles
Text / Printed Matter Download scripture in this language
Photo Source Climate Alliance Org - Flickr  Creative Commons 
Map Source People Group location: IMB / WLMS / WDPA. Map geography: ESRI / GMI. Map design: Joshua Project.  
Profile Source Pioneers 
Data Sources Data is compiled from various sources. Learn more.

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