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                       The Ayahuasca-Alien Connection
                               Excerpts from:
      Ayahuasca Visions: The Religious Iconography of a Peruvian Shaman

Being a publication of outstanding paintings of ayahuasca visions experienced
by a native medicine man, Pablo Amaringo, and interpreted by distinguished
anthropologist, Luis Eduardo Luna, PhD. A masterpiece. ISBN 1-55643-064-7
Published by: North Atlantic Books 2800 Woolsey Street Berkeley, CA 94705

Some Important Iconographical Motifs


The spaceship motif has an important place in Pablo's visions. As we saw
earlier, when the curandera who cured his sister gave him ayahuasca, Pablo
saw a huge flying saucer making a tremendous noise that made him panic
(Vision 7). Don Manuel Amaringo, Pablo's older brother, has a similar story.
He told me - with tears in his eyes - that the main icaro he employed to cure
many people he learned from a fairy called Altos Cielos Nieves Tenebrosas,
who came in a blue spaceship:

She asked me: "Do you want to listen to my song?"
She sang and that song I have always kept in my heart.

  In spite of the frequency with which Pablo depicts spaceships, he is sparse
in his commentary about them. Pablo says that these vehicles may take many
shapes, are able to attain infinite speed, and can travel underwater or under
the earth. The beings travelling in them are like spirits, having bodies more
subtle than ours, appearing and disappearing at will. They belong to advanced
extraterrestrial civilizations that live in perfect harmony. Great Amerindian
civilizations like the Maya, Tiahuanaco, and Inca had contact with these
beings. Pablo says that he saw in his journeys with ayahuasca that the Maya
knew about this brew, and that they left for other worlds at some point in
their history, but are about to return to this planet. In fact he says that
some of the flying saucers seen by people today are piloted by Maya wise

[footnote #48]
  A similar idea has been reported by German anthropologist Angelika
Gebhart-Sayer. In 1981 while doing fieldwork in Caimito, a small Shipibo
settlement by the Ucayali River, her indian friends were worried about
strange light phenomena they had witnessed for months, and which they
interpreted as a new tactic of white people to penetrate their tribal
territories. When they approached the lights they disappeared. On several
occasions Gebhart-Sayer herself saw soundless yellowish lights about the size
of a football, moving about 400 meters away, and about one meter above the
ground. She could not find any logical explaination for what she saw. Jose
Santos, the shaman, calmed the people, explaining that in an ayahuasca vision
he understood what it was: a golden airplane with big lamps and beautifully
decorated seats. "The pilot, a distinguished Inca, steps out. Sometimes he
wears the modern clothes of white people, sometimes a precious Inca cushma
{traditional men's garment}. We bow to each other, but don't speak, because
we know each other's thoughts. Then he withdraws. The time has not yet
arrived for him to speak. The Incas want to ally themselves with us, so as to
defeat the white and mestizo, and establish a great empire in which we will
live our traditional life, and will possess both the commodities of the Incas
and the white. The time will come soon in which he will bring presents and
give guidance. (Gebhart-Sayer 1987:141-2)
  Finnish historian Martti Parssinen kindly indicated to me a text written by
Father Francisco de San Jose on a phenomenon the missionary witnessed at the
confluence of the Pozuzo and Ucayali rivers on August 8, 1767. Father
Francisco and other missionaries had been surrounded at night by a group of
hostile Conibos, who were shooting their arrows at them, which they answered
with gunfire. He writes:
    We were in the midst of this battle when something happened well worth
    remembering. We saw, as much Christians as gentiles, a globe of light
    brighter than the moon that flew over the lines of the Conibos and
    lighted the while field. I don't know whether the Indians saw any
    mystery in the event, but I only know they abandoned their arrows...
    (San Jose 1767:364)

  Extraterrestrials are in contact with the nina-runas (fire people) that
live in the interior of volcanoes. They communicate telepathically with each
other. Under the effects of ayahuasca one can see these beings and their
vehicles, but few vegetalistas actually have contact with them, only chosen
ones, to whom extraterrestrials teach power songs and give useful information
to help cure their patients.

  French anthropologist Francoise Barbira-Freedman, who did extensive work
among the Lamista of San Martin province, told me that among her shaman
informants spaceship sightings in ayahuasca were common. When I visited Don
Manuel Shuna, Pablo's uncle, a vegetalista more than 90 years old, I showed
his several photographs of Pablo's paintings. Pointing to the flying saucer
in one of the photographs he told me with excitement, almost with stress,
that the last two years he had been haunted by people coming out of machines
like that. He said that these people fly standing slightly above the surface
of the water. Don Manuel describes their machines as being about 50 meters
long, with lights that make the night as bright as the day. When at rest they
never touch the ground or the water, but remain suspended in the air.
Sometimes the beings on board these machines knock down and take whole trees
with them. Don Manuel said:

    They know when I am taking ayahuasca. They come and sing all sorts of
    songs, and the icaros I sing. They also know how to pray. They want to
    be friends with me, becuase there are things these people don't know.
    They want to take me with them, but I don't want to go because these
    people eat each other. They tried to frighten me by moving the earth,
    or felling large trees. They almost made me crazy. But they no longer
    come close because I blew tobacco on them.

  It is of course very difficult to know what to make of this kind of report.
It seems that shamans are constantly appropriating symbolically whatever
innovations they see or hear about, using them in their visions as vivid
metaphors to further explore the spirit realms, to increase their knowledge,
or to defend themselves from supernatural attack. Shipibo shamans receive
books in which they can read the condition of patients, have spirit
pharmacies, or travel on airplanes covered with meaningful geometric designs
to the bottom of lakes to recover the caya (soul) of their patients
(Gebhart-Sayer 1985:168,172;1986:205;1987:240); Canelos Quichua receive from
the spirits X-ray machines, blood pressure apparatuses, stethoscopes, and
large bright surgical lights (Whitten 1985:147); an acculturated Campa shaman
uses in his healing songs radio frequencies to communicate with water spirits
(Chevalier 1982:352-3); Shuar shamans, who acquire from various plants,
animals, stones, or other objects magical arrows (tsentsak) to cure or defend
themselves, also get them from a witrur (from Spanish vitrola, phonograph)
(Pellizzaro 1976:23,249); Don Alejandro Vazquez, a vegetalista living in
Iquitos, told me that besides angels with swords and soldiers with guns, he
has a jet fighter which he uses when he is attacked by strong sorcerers (Luna
1986:93; see also Pellizzaro 1976:47); Don Fidel Mosombite, an ayahuasquero
of Pucallpa, told me that in his visions he was given magical keys, so that
he was able to drive beautiful cars and airplanes of many kinds.

  Flying is one of the most common themes of shamanism anywhere. The shaman
may transform himself into a bird, insect, or a winged being, or be taken by
an animal or being into other realms. Contemporary shamans sometimes use
metaphors based on modern innovations to express the idea of flying. Thus it
is not strange that the UFO motif, which is part of modern imagery - perhaps,
as proposed by Jung (1959), even an archetypal expression of our times - is
used by shamans as a device for spiritual transportation into other worlds.
The flying saucers, extraterrestrial beings, and intergalactic civilizations
that appear in Pablo's paintings should not necessarily be considered unusual
or extraneous to Amazonian shamanism; they may be manifestations of old
motifs. Descriptions of shamanic journeys under the influence of ayahuasca
and other psychotropic plants, even among culturally isolated Amazonian
tribes, frequently include the idea of a shaman ascending to heaven to mingle
with heavenly people or, conversely, celestial beings descending to the place
of the ceremony. (cf. Gomez 1969; Reichel-Dolmatoff 1971:43,173; Vickers &
Plowman 1984:19; Ramirez de Jara & Pinzon 1986:173-4; Chaumeil 1982:40;

[footnote #50]
  An interesting example from Cuna cosmology has been reported by Gomez:
    The stars are the lights of a dwelling group of a nature which is
    intermediate between solid bodies and air. Those dwellings are
    inhabited by beautiful women who in the night spin cotton lighted
    by lamps similar to those of white people.
      They reproduce themselves by the will of Paptummatti {literally,
    the Great Father} without the intervention of men, always giving
    birth to females. They move from one house to the other by means of
    golden saucers with which they also travel to other worlds,
    occasionally descending to any of them to transport in their vehicles
    those persons who are worthy of divine favor.
  The author then adds the following footnote:
    In Cuna mythology, there are numerous references to these flying saucers
    in their narrations about cultural heroes. This notion has gone over
    to the folklore, and descriptions of these saucers occur in daily life.
    (Gomez 1969:67)

Both Valle (1979) and Meheust (1988) have noticed the parallelism that can be
found between folkloristic motifs, shamanic journeys, and flying saucer
abductions. As in other parts of the world today, the Amazon is constantly
being bombarded by exotic new images and symbols that rapidly intermingle
with traditional beliefs.

  On the other hand, the connection between UFOs and tryptamine hallucinogens
has been pointed out by Terence McKenna, who has ascertained by questionaire
that UFO contact is the motif most frequently mentioned by people who take
psilocybin recreationally, using 15-milligram-range doses sufficient to
elicit the full spectrum of psychedelic effects (cf. McKenna 1984,1989). I
have heard of such stories by Westerners who have taken ayahuasca, Psilocybin
cubensis, or pure dimethyltryptamine. As Valle (1979:209-10) has pointed out,
the UFOs are physical manifestations that cannot be understood apart from
their psychic and symbolic reality. The UFO motif is a subject that should
not be neglected by cognitive anthropologists, depth psychologists, and
people interested in the mythologies of modern man.

What follows are excerpts from the descriptions of the visions which contain
extraterrestrial themes including entities, vehicles, cities, abduction, etc.



  [..] To the left we see the giant Liborim with a magical flying dagger he
uses against his enemies. Behind him there are three flying saucers coming
from Andromeda to influence those learning magical sciences with their
enigmatic vibrations.
  In front of the flying saucer is the house where several curanderos are in
the midst of these beautiful ayahuasca visions.


  [..] Further in the background a great garden stretches back to an
enchanted castle on the outskirts of the dense city Ankord. Ankord is a
mysterious city that lies in some unknown part of the earth. Over the city
circles a strange spaceship.


  This is a very strong vision in which we see that a great vegetalista
curandera has become a beautiful queen wearing a golden crown, with the body
of a blue serpent with disc-shaped marks.
  Some of her companions are frightened and haven't the courage to look at
her and withstand the aura she makes sprout from their heads. She unfolds in
their midst, showing them the power she possesses. She makes them see and
listen to a great roaring machine in the form of a disc of very complicated
structure and a flashing luminescence. Violet, orange, and yellow lights
emanate from this machine. It is a large cosmic ship capable of moving at
fantastic speeds, built by beings with an intelligence superior to humans.


  [..] Above the queen appear the killo-caranchi {the yellow skins}, whose
hair takes the form of the cobra. The killo-caranchi are engaged in a magical
tambourine dance. Behind them flying saucers appear from the most distant
reaches of the universe. Some day, far in the future, mankind will be able
to comprehend these unfathomable beings.


  A shaman has taken ayahuasca in solitude. [..] In the background we see
several giants from Antares, a distant galaxy; they have come to visit the
Earth in their flying saucer. To the right several guardians prevent the
uninitiated from entering their esoteric city.


  [..] To the right we see a creature with wings and an eagle's head, always
travelling through the universe. [..] In the background are three spaceships
from Andromeda, just arriving from a visit to the subaquatic city. We also
see two celestial beings controlling the solar rays to benefit the earth.


  This is a mareacion [120] produced by cielo ayahuasca [sky ayahuasca].

[footnote #120]
  Mareacion is the term used in the Peruvian Amazon to designate the
  hallucinatory effect of psychtropic plants.

We see shamans from different parts of the world, all practicing vegetal and
spiritual medicine. [...] Also present are two women called cuayacunas or
caressing women. At their side is an extraterrestrial ship from Ganymede with
a magic ladder by which the crew may disembark.

  [..] Below are two ships that have come from Venus; their crews approach
the house of the shaman in haste. In front of the house is the supay-tuyuyo
{tuyuyo, a large bird}, which the master uses as a vehicle when leaving for
the outer world and space regions. Below are the callampas {mushrooms} and
the callampa machaco {mushroom snake}. [..]

  At the bottom is an Inca priest or Varayok, guardian of the temples of the
occult sciences of this culture. He has had direct contact with
extraterrestrial beings from Andromeda, whose vision is very much superior to
ours and who gave specialized knowledge to the Tahuantinsuyo shamans.[122]

[footnote #122]
  Tahuantinsuyo (Tawantin-soyo): the empire of the Four Querters,
  the Inca empire.

To the extreme right we see a lama, illustrious master of healing by means of
the plants of the mystical mountains of the Himalaya, surrounded by very wise
men who are well-versed in the knowledge of the vegetal world.


** Vision 14: THE THREE POWERS

  [..] Four flying objects always accompany the sylphs as guardians wherever
they go.


  [..] In the upper left corner is the chirapa {rainbow} and two dazzling
spaceships that hasten to make contact with human beings. They come from the
  In the pond, on top of two ivory towers, the yanahuarmis twins {black
women} are sitting with nets to catch the spaceships. They wish to take them
to the bottom and make the crew members live with them in luxurious aquatic
  On the right there is another extraterrestrial spaceship with a melodious
icaro that has come from the Kima constellation. It emanates wisdom in the
form of heavenly light.



  [..] In the middle is seen an airport for extraterrestrial spaceships from
various places. A ship from Jupiter descends to land in this airport at the
bottom of the river. The ship in the center of the airport is from Ganymede.
The one at the right is from Venus, the one at the left is from Saturn, and
the one in the back from mars.


  In the center we see an opening to the subaquatic worlds. [..]
  Through this hole the great characters of that world send a sumiruna to
space with the help of the ancash silfos {blue sylphs} who transport him in a
glass tube, which is the lupuna colorada {red lupina, Cavallinesia sp.}.
There we see him now, the sumiruna, standing on a ball of high-pressure gas,
ready for levitation. [137]

[footnote #137]
  Pablo's description of a lupuna colorada tree connecting the underwater
world with space has a striking parallelism in the mythology of the Shipibo
as presented by Roe (1982:118-9). According to this author, the central
pillar supporting the multiple worlds of the Shipibo cosmos is a gigantic
World Tree, often a lupuna tree, which is usually hollow and contains fish,
the water of its interior communicating with the waters of the subaquatic
region. A lupina with a stairway leading to the tree canopy is found in
Vision 5. See Chaumeil (1983:154,213) on the lupina as an axis mundi among
the Yagua.



  In the vision we also see a spaceship coming from Mars, one of the planets
shown, which is comprised of four different regions - that of the great
volcanoes, the region of deep canyons, the region of great craters, and the
region of the terraces, full of deep caves.
  A little beyond is Jupiter and even farther out is Guibori, a fairy, with
her magic blue star. Two comets are travelling very fast. Vegetalistas are
able to call them to travel to distant places in the universe.
  In the center we see the other planets: Saturn, Uranus, Neptune, and Pluto.
Vegetalistas may visit all these planets rather easily, because they are not
very far away.
  In the background we see Nina-runa with her horses of fire. She is called
upon by shamans as a powerful defense.
  To the left we see Venus, from which a spaceship is coming.


  In the center of the painting we see two people from the Tiahuanaco culture
of Lake Titicaca. The man is called Papamtua (father that takes care of
everybody) and the woman Mamamtua (mother of all human beings). They are in
contact with huaira-cuchas, beings from distant galaxies with skin as white as
  Here there are also several ruiro-piramides {round pyramids}, also called
allpahuichcan {round tombs}, from a mystical city called Persivann, located
in the magical esoteric triangle of the radiant Pleiades. People of great
wisdom are coming out of the pyramids, expert in cryptesthesia.
  [..] Behind is the vine of the lucero ayahuasca {star ayahuasca}. Its
leaves are like boats, and also like hummingbirds, carrying people from
Antares. With their songs these people teach new medicinal techniques.
  In the lower right corner there is a being whose body is made of triangles.
He is a Manchay Barayuc, a giant soldier of a city in the Pleiades.


  To the left there is a Sachamama with a rainbow coming from her eyes. Near
her is a medicinal plant called maramara {unidentified}. Above is a flying
saucer that comes from one of Saturn's satellites, and two angels armed with
swords and spherical sheilds.



  This happened when I arrived in Tamanco in 1959. My father took me to a
settlement called Brazil. In a house on one end of town lived a woman called
Maria Pacaya. My father had to cure several patients, and there he took
ayahuasca. He also gave me the brew after blowing on it with the purpose of
helping me, as I was suffering from a heart disease.
  The brew was so strong that I was at the edge of screaming. The visions
were so vivid that I thought what I saw was not just imagination, but a
contact with something physical and real. I saw sphinxes; I was in Africa,
Europe, and the Americas; suddenly I saw a doctor dressed in a grey-violet
suit. He was an American. His wife was wearing an emerald-green dress. Their
daughter had a dress of the same color. They seemed to be nurses, and had
with them scalpels, scissors, pincers, hooks, cotton, needles and thread, and
medicine of various kinds.
  The doctor asked me to take off my shirt. He took a large, broad knife and
opened me from the clavicle to the last rib of the left side. With a hammer
he broke the ribs and opened my chest. He put my heart on a dish, where he
operated on its arteries and joined them with some sort of soft plastic
tubes. The doctor showed me the location of the damage in my arteries.
  In the meantime the daughter of the doctor had already prepared the needle
and threaded needle to sew the wound. They put my heart back in its place,
closed my chest, and cleansed and sewed up the wound. They told me that I had
to fast for a week. I did so, and since then I have felt perfect.[149]

[footnote #149]
  In the course of interviews with vegetalistas and their patients I have
encountered several narrations in which healing takes place through imagery,
either in the visions or in dreams. [..] Clodomir Monteiro da Silva reports
that Sebastiao Costa, a disciple of Irineu Serra, the founder of the Santo
Daime (ayahuasca) church in Brazil, was "operated on" under the effects of
the brew. He saw his body lying in front of him, and two men arrived with
instruments, removed his bones and put them back into his body, opened his
body, and took a square piece out from which three small animals came that
were the cause of the illness (Monteiro 1985:104-5).
  This seems to suggest that in the visions the patients or the shaman
metaphorically enacts the healing process, and it is this visualization which
carries out the healing (cf. Achterberg 1985).


  Here we see King Kundal, the master of the Huairamama {the great snake
mother of the air}. [..] He has an umbrella made of meteors. It is said that
those meteors are special ships with a psychomagnetic nucleus.
  [..] In front of the city we see a flying object that approaches the house
where ayahuasca is taken. It comes from the planet Mars, and in it come
goblins, experts in surgical operations. They come from the area of the
inpenetrable craters.
  [..] Further down we see another extraterrestrial ship, which comes from
the galaxy Antares with beings of elastic body who do not walk upon the
ground, as they have strong levitation powers which can suspend even the
heaviest body.


  In the background, we see a big spaceship from the Kima constellation, with
powerful knowledge about meditation and levitation.


  [..] The spaceship behind her is seeing to it that the boa is not stronger
than vegetalista and thus cannot harm him. It comes from a galaxy where there
is a city called Aponia, where the people live in peace without knowing
money, only love; where people don't fight against each other, but work in


  We see a flying object coming from the North with blue beings from Venus.
Half the body of these beings is like that of humans, the other half is made
only of energy. They come to teach the vegetalistas medicine. [..]
  In the center is a spaceship that travels at great speeds, [..]


  [..] The helpers of the vegetalistas are genies of ancient cultures. [..]
Further up is the great pythonic Lui Ce Fu with his sparkling radiant power,
smoking his visionary pipe that takes him to faraway places, where he gets
to know different masters of the occult sciences. [..]


  [..] Below, glowing with green, red, and yellow lights, is a spaceship of
the elves who live on terraces of the planet Mars, and who from time to time
visit the Earth.


  [..] On the left we see a powerful cosmic ship that moves through the
different galaxies bringing auras of great wisdom.


  [..] In the upper right corner we see a spaceship coming from a distant
place, near the edge of the universe, where darkness becomes solid and
inpenetrable. It has come here by travelling through trillions of galaxies of
the unfathomable universe one can visit by means of the sacred plant
ayahuasca. The people of the world from which this spaceship comes live in
perfect harmony, love, and wisdom, without egoism and wars.


  This is a vision produced by one of the varieties of ayahuasca. [..]
  There is also an extraterrestrial spaceship with standards pointing towards
the four cardinal points. In this ship come being from the constellation
Kima. They resemble humans and speak very slowly.
  In the lower part of the painting there are several giants that come from
the center of the galaxy Antares. They have great power and teach icaros that
many vegetalistas use to cure snake bites or the bites of other poisonous

              FROM A SORCERER.

  In this painting we see a sumi, or great sorcerer, trying to cause harm to
a group of people peacefully taking ayahuasca. He is wearing a sword the
color of fire. As he moves, lightning and thunder are produced.

    NOTE: This painting shows a sorcerer flying through the air. He is
          roughly saucer shaped, with colorful lights and markings.


  This vision is called sepultura tonduri {Spanish sepultura=grave, funeral},
which is a very sad and frightening icaro, sung by a sorcerer to kill a
person or his enemy. [..]
  But this muraya is stronger than the three vegetalistas. We see to the far
right how he summons his powers, the nina-rumis volcanoes {nina=fire,
rumis=stone}, which are mighty with their lava flows and earthquakes and
their large spaceships , which come to attack making circles with laser nets,
ready to catch in their traps everything the sorcerer uses.


  [..] The icaros of the curandero pull the black boa towards a hole in the
ground, where it will be closed with circling discs, charged with
radioactivity, which were brought by the great acrobats called
yura-pachacama, white souls who take care of the universe.


  A splendid vision in which the sublime powers of the invisible world are
seen as luminous rays, with qualities or grades that go beyond all human
knowledge. [..] Then there is a turqueise-blue ray representing the sapphire.
There we see angels or messengers who roam the vast universe, dwelling in
different galaxies for some time. The have extrasensory wisdom and move with
the speed of thought. They are the guardians appointed to the immense

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