A little more than a decade ago about a dozen families from the indigenous Shipibo tribe moved to Lima from Peru’s eastern Amazon region. They ended up in the city’s Cantagallo district, in the middle of the capital and close along the Pan-American Highway. In this overcrowded neighborhood, their Shipibo language and customs are under serious threat.
A decade ago the government gave the first Shipibo permission to settle here temporarily. They came from the province of Ucayali, more than 800 kilometers to the north-east. Today the community comprises several hundred families. The Barrios Altos district lies in the background. The Pan-American Highway and the Rímac River run between the two neighborhoods. The Shipibo make up a relatively closed community. Although Cantagallo lies in the heart of the city, many residents of Lima know little about the neighborhood.
The Shipibo do not have title for the ground their dwellings are built on. The permission to settle along the Rímac was only temporary. At any moment they could be turned out of their homes, but they appeal to their rights as an indigenous group. In 2011, they have turned in a proposal to the city for a project to develop their community and homes as a tourist attraction. In that way they would also obtain ownership rights.
This story is part of Via Panam, Kadir van Lohuizen’s project about migration in the Americas.