Introduction / History The Tigre were traditionally nomadic shepherds who lived in Eritrea and northeastern Sudan. They were distinguished from other regional peoples by the fact that they possessed hereditary slaves. Historically, most of the Tigre have been scattered between Eritrea's northern highlands and western lowlands. They have somewhat shifted into Sudan in search of water and grazing lands.
The Tigreans, descendants of the ancient Egyptians, are generally tall and have narrow noses and brown skin. Influenced by Muslim Arab missionaries, most of the Tigreans converted to Islam during the 1800s. Since their language, Tigre, has no script of its own, most literate Tigreans write in Arabic. The Tigreans in Eritrea have suffered from recent droughts, famine, and civil war. Although many are still nomads, most are semi-nomadic; others have become settled farmers. Still others migrated to other parts of the world like Canada to start a new life.
Where are they located? A good percentage of the Eritreans in Canada live in Greater Toronto Area, or GTA. Others live in Edmonton or Regina.
What are their lives like? Eritrea is a very violent, unstable country, and refugees are leaving at a fast pace. During the 2010s, many Eritreans came to Canada as refugees. They risked abuse and death as they traveled on boats to make their way to Europe. Others managed to escape via Israel. Some of these were able to move to Canada as refugees, and today they are still open to change if people would go to them with the gospel.
What are their beliefs? Although the Tigreans profess to be Sunni Muslims, most of them practice folk Islam, which is a blend of Islam and ethnic beliefs. Their traditional beliefs include animal sacrifices and rain making rituals. Sacrifices of livestock or corn are offered whenever they think their sins are numerous. They believe that the sacrifice becomes the scapegoat for their sins.
The Tigre also believe in an evil spirit named Zar, who possesses people and causes accidents, illnesses, and sometimes death. The people depend on shamans (priests) to cure the sick, communicate with the spirits, and control events. The shamans also exorcise demons and perform services by entering into a trance.
What are their needs? Eritrean Tigreans need job skills and English or French lessons so they can become valuable members of Canadian society.
Prayer Points * Pray for gospel workers to catch a vision for reaching the Eritrean Tigreans in Canada for Jesus and that in God's sovereign timing their hearts would be open and ready to follow Him.
* Pray for Jesus movements to bless extended Eritrean Tigrean families so the gospel will spread rapidly among this people group.
* Pray for the spiritual lives of these people to become fruitful as they follow Christ.
* Pray for their lives and culture to evidence the rule and reign of the Kingdom of God as they open to the gospel, and for the beauty of Jesus to be seen in them.