Full film record documenting the Ashaninka (also known as the Campa) of the eastern Peruvian rainforest. Footage was shot in two villages, Otika and Oviri, on the upper Tambo River, Peru. Extensive documentation of Ashaninka subsistence in the eastern foothills of the Andes includes: slash-and-burn agriculture; fishing expeditions in which men use <kómo> root to poison fish; making of <masato>, a fermented drink central to daily subsistence and recreation; making of arrows; spinning of cotton thread and weaving of cloth; basket making; and preparing and eating meals. Ritual and other activities include: singing, dancing, and playing panpipes; an indigenous medical practice known as <ciokánci> (a diagnosing technique); face and body decoration; a marriage ceremony; childbirth; and preparation of <kamárami> (<ayahuasca>), a psychotropic drink. Project is believed to be the only film documentation on the Ashaninka, an indigenous group which has resisted acculturation since contact with colonists during the rubber boom at the turn of this century. The film, BEFORE WE KNEW NOTHING, was made from this project.
Human Studies Film Archives, Smithsonian Museum Support Center, Suitland, MD