Shuar Health and Life History Project
field site


Shuar are indigenous Amazonians of neo-tropical Ecuador and northeastern Peru who traditionally lived in scattered households across the Paute and Upano River Valley between the eastern Andean foothills and the Cutucu range. As trade was established with non-Shuar (Colonos) in the 1890s, Shuar expanded eastward. They now live on both sides of the Cutucu and throughout the Upano River Valley. For a map of the region, click here.

Ecuadorian Shuar number 50,000-110,000 and reside in over 668 communities. Shuar economy was traditionally based on household production via swidden horticulture, hunting, and fishing. Upano Valley Shuar are currently experiencing rapid socio-economic change, with their economy primarily based on small-field horticulture, mixed small-scale agro-pastoralism and, when available, wage labor and timber sales. Diet is based on traditional horticultural products, augmented with non-traditional foods such as chicken, rice, sodas, chips, and sardines; hunting and fishing are no longer as important economically. In the last decade, dirt road and electrical grid access has increased dramatically for Upano Valley communities. Paving of the main road between Sucua and Puyo to the North, completed in 2009, is further accelerating change in the area.