Over the subsequent centuries, literature helped preserve and draw attention to precarious elements of Peruvian culture.

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Shamans still practice these spirit-journeys today. Coca leaves used to be a harmless part of many Peruvian cultures.

Dating back to the pre-Columbian era, natives would chew on the leaves as a harmless painkiller. Some natives still cultivate the plant to use it medicinally, but its production has become a point of legal controversy.

Before the arrival of the Spanish, native Peruvians engaged largely in nature worship.

Shamans or used San Pedro cacti or the ayahuasca plant to induce hallucinations as part of a spiritual experience.

At the time, the Amazon jungle was one of the few environments where rubber trees grew.

Foreigners came to the Amazon to harvest the rubber trees, and some became quite rich in the process.During the 20th century, Jose MarĂ­a Arquedas brought more attention to the plight of indigenous populations with his literary efforts, including his 1970s work .Raised among the indigenous peoples of the Andes, Arquedas draws on his experience to make his stories of life in the rural Andes highly realistic.Indigenous people in Peru have experienced discrimination since the first days of colonization.For many decades after Peru became a representative democracy, it was illegal for illiterate people to vote in Peru.Because of the high rate of illiteracy among indigenous people, this policy excluded a large portion of the indigenous population from the democratic process.