The Awá

The Awá indigenous community is located along the south-west mountainous rain forests near Tumaco in Narino (also located in Northern Ecuador). They live on several Indigenous reservations.

Awá means the "people." They live in small communities that consist of large extended family units. There is typically long distances between communities.

The people live off of the land hunting, fishing, and growing corn (maiz), and other vegetables.

Unfortunately, little has been written about the AWÁ and their culture. The best resource is in Spanish. It is a book by Benhur Ceron Solarte called LOS AWÁ-KWAIKER.

As I mentioned yesterday, some of the hardest hit by the drug/guerrilla violence are those of indigenous communities. Unfortunately, the reservations where the Awá live are also located in areas where poppy and coca are grown. Thus making it ground zero for the FARC / Paramilitary / Army war.

Under such conditions, the Awá have recently suffered great loss. On August 26, there was a massacre of 12 Awá Indians (7 of whom were children) which sent over 200 local Indians fleeing from the Awá Reservation called Gran Rosario toward the city of Tumaco. On the 13th of September a 45 year old Awá man was killed by armed men. On September 15th, an 18 year old Awá was killed by armed men on the reservation known as Hojal de Turbia. On September 16, a 21 year old Awá man was killed on the Kuambi Yaslambi reservation. On September 19, an Awá man, who had fled the Pialapi Pueblo Viejo reservation because of FARC activity and was heading for Tumaco was gunned down. On September 23, 10 men dressed in military uniforms entered the home of the Awá woman Mercedes Guanga. They demanded money, but the family had none. The woman was shot point blank and the family has fled the area.

Unfortunately, I could not find public domain pictures of the Awá, but an article I found about the Awá has a few. Here is a link:

More info in Spanish here:


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