Location and Linguistic Affiliations

The Shipibo are located in the upper Peruvian Amazon. Their communities are found principally along the banks of the Ucayali river and its tributaries from Atalaya to Requena or on lakes off the main course of the river. The coordinates of the area are approximately 6°S-9°S and 75°W. Upstream on the Ucayali from the town of Pucallpa, the Shipibo are known locally as the Conibo, although the language spoken and the culture shared by the Shipibo/Conibo are essentially the same. The entire group will be referred to here as "Shipibo."

Shipibo is one of the Panoan languages of the Amazon. Panoan speakers tend to be concentrated around the upper Ucayali drainage basin in eastern Peru and western Brazil.

The word "Shipibo" is not generally used by the Shipibo to describe themselves. They tend to use the word jonibo, "person (pl.)," in reference to themselves and the word nahuabo, "foreigner/stranger/not-person (pl.)," in reference to others who are not Shipibo. The term "Shipibo" has been used by members of other tribes to refer to the group under discussion because of their custom of capturing and maintaining as pets specimens of the pygmy marmoset (Cebuella pygmaea), the smallest known primate, which is indigenous to the eastern Peruvian Amazon. In Panoan languages, this animal is called a shipi. The suffix bo indicates plural.

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