Amachegua—more properly, amachénga or amachénka—is an Asháninka word for a class of mythical saviors. These good spirits present themselves to ordinary people as lightning bolts or as brilliantly plumed birds. Slavery was gradually replaced by less absolute but equally effective forms of exploitation. To keep their Indian laborers close to home, landowners were sometimes instrumental in helping Asháninkas secure land titles. From the 1920s onward, hundreds of Asháninkas chose to escape the threat of raids or the burdensome demands of white landowners by moving to the mission communities that sprang up throughout the region. By 1960, the Asháninka homeland had become an intricate social mosaic in which Indians no longer had a dominant place. They also grew tired of living as shadows in the blinding light of the white world, needed for their labor but despised for their way of life.
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