Introduction / History
When the Portuguese first made contact with the indigenous peoples of what is now Brazil, they began a long, tragic process of assimilation for the first nations peoples. Portuguese men intermarried with indigenous women, and their land and resources were taken from them. The first nations peoples died by the thousands because of diseases introduced by European settlers. The first Catholic missionaries, the Jesuits, protected these people until they were expelled by those who wanted to exploit the land and the people.
In the 20th Century, the Brazilian government attempted to protect these peoples by establishing FUNAI. The goal was to keep the indigenous peoples free from potentially harmful outside forces. Many logging, mining, and farming interests have managed to seep in none the less. The rain forest is being torn down, leaving the peoples of the interior vulnerable to disease, economic exploitation, and potential extermination.
Where are they located?
The Tapuia people live in central Brazil.
What are their lives like?
There are so few Tapuia people that they are in danger of disappearing as a people. In the past they have been able to survive by hunting wild game, fishing, and finding edible plants, but as they are forced to live in Brazilian towns or cities, they must adapt to a foreign world. Many are in the process of adapting right now. A 2007 news article mentions one of their members joining a Brazilian protest march demanding the impeachment of their president.
What are their beliefs?
The language of the Tapuia people is Curripaco, and their primary religion is listed as "ethnic." This means that their religion probably involves an effort to appease the spirits that is common in such belief systems.
What are their needs?
The Tapuia people need a way to enter Brazilian society without being destroyed as a people. God wants these people to maintain their dignity and to be able to worship Him. They are created in His image for His purposes.
* Pray for God to open the way for these people to enter Brazilian society with a minimum of damage to their dignity and health.
* Pray for God to open the hearts of the Tapuia people so that they will joyfully receive Christ into their hearts.
* Pray for a disciple making movement among indigenous peoples of Brazil that will include the Tapuia people.
Text source: Keith Carey