Pajonal Asheninka in Peru

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

Introduction / History

The Ashéninka Pajonal are an indigenous people group living in the grassy plateaus of the eastern Andean foothills. 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 Pajonal have had some exposure to the gospel through various churches and mission agencies including translating the New Testament into the Ashéninka Pajonal dialect. In the last 10 years evangelical ministries have begun church planting movements and leadership training. Among the 100+ communities, there are now four to five indigenous evangelical churches in the beginning stages of development.

Where Are they Located?

The Ashéninka Pajonal live in the central grasslands of Peru between Atalaya and Puerto Bermudez.

What Are Their Lives Like?

The Ashéninka Pajonal 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. Their primary crops are manioc and maize, and some also raise coffee to sell. Since the Pajonal grasslands have few rivers and little game, the local diet centers on manioc, and food is often in short supply.

In spite of great cultural changes, they 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 from achiote fruit is common.

They live a subsistence lifestyle, connected to the land with only enough food for one to two days, and they must work hard to produce enough food to eat.
What Are Their Beliefs?

The people hold to animistic views that seek 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 Pajonal 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?

Animism presents a strong challenge to church planting, as new believers often mix their previous worldview with Christianity and attempt to live out both realities. The Ashéninka Pajonal need continued teaching and discipleship to develop a biblical worldview and to avoid division and broken relationships among believers.

The Ashéninka Pajonal have a strong need for better medical facilities, an improved educational system, and ethical teachers with a commitment to students' success.

Prayer Points

Please pray that God will raise up faithful church leaders and examples who will lead their people to Christ.
Pray for restoration and reconciliation between believers.

Scripture Prayers for the Asheninka, Pajonal in Peru.

Profile Source:   Pioneers  

People Name General Asheninka, Pajonal
People Name in Country Asheninka, Pajonal
Natural Name Pajonal Asheninka
Pronunciation pah-ho-NAHL ah-SHEN-ing-kah
Alternate Names Asheninca Pajonal; Atsiri
Population this Country 15,000
Population all Countries 15,000
Total Countries 1
Indigenous Yes
Progress Scale 1
Unreached Yes
Frontier People Group No
GSEC 4  (per
Pioneer Workers Needed 1
People ID 14264
ROP3 Code 107764
Country Peru
Region America, Latin
Continent South America
10/40 Window No
National Bible Society Website
Persecution Rank Not ranked
Location in Country Junin, Pasco, and Ucayali regions: central Gran Pajonal area.   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 Junin, Pasco, and Ucayali regions: central Gran Pajonal area..   Source:  Ethnologue 2016
Map of Asheninka, Pajonal in Peru
Primary Religion: Ethnic Religions
Major Religion Percent
0.00 %
Christianity  (Evangelical 0.70 %)
0.74 %
Ethnic Religions
99.26 %
0.00 %
0.00 %
0.00 %
Other / Small
0.00 %
0.00 %
Primary Language Asheninka, Pajonal (15,000 speakers)
Language Code cjo   Ethnologue Listing
Language Written Yes   ScriptSource Listing
Total Languages 1
Primary Language Asheninka, Pajonal (15,000 speakers)
Language Code cjo   Ethnologue Listing
Total Languages 1
People Groups Speaking Asheninka, Pajonal

Primary Language:  Asheninka, Pajonal

Bible Translation Status  (Years)
Bible-Portions Yes  (1976-1986)
Bible-New Testament Yes  (2002-2008)
Bible-Complete No
Bible-NT Audio Online
Bible-NT Text 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
Audio Recordings Online New Testament Faith Comes by Hearing
Film / Video LUMO film of Gospels Bible Media Group/LUMO
General Gospel resources links Scripture Earth
Mobile App Bible app direct APK download SIL
Mobile App Download audio Bible app as APK file Faith Comes by Hearing
Text / Printed Matter Bible: Asheninka, Pajonal YouVersion Bibles
Text / Printed Matter Download scripture in this language
Photo Source Copyrighted © 2023  Wycliffe Bible Translators of Canada Inc.  All rights reserved.  Used with permission
Map Source People Group location: IMB. Map geography: ESRI / GMI. Map design: Joshua Project.  
Profile Source Pioneers  
Data Sources Data is compiled from various sources. Learn more.