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Wiwa, Malayo in Colombia

Wiwa, Malayo

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Wiwa, Malayo in Colombia map
Population [2] Language Religion % Christian % Evangl Online NT Jesus Film Progress
7,400 Malayo Ethnic Religions 2.10 % 0.40 % No No   

Wiwa, Malayo in Colombia

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Introduction / History
The Wiwa live in the valleys of the Sierra Nevada Mountains of Colombia, between Valledupar and Santa Marta. The population of the tribe is around 7,000. The bulk of the population lives on the southeast side of the mountains. They are the smallest of the three traditional Sierra tribes and are struggling to retain a separate identity.

What are their lives like?
The Wiwas have a very democratic system of governing. Once every few weeks, all the men in the area meet in the men's house and stay all night discussing and voting on all conflicts and ideas. Between these meetings, the Cabildes and Mamos (shamans) are in charge of carrying out the decisions.

The people always have two houses, one on their farmland where they live most of the time and one in the village where they stay during town meetings.

They always wear white, cotton clothes, and the men have long hair. It's really important to their cultural identity. They get rather offended if anyone suggests that they change either one of those parts of their appearance.

One thing to note is that only about 65% of the Wiwas speak the native language Damana, a fact that contributes to differing reports of total population figures.

What are their beliefs?
Their beliefs contain a lot of animism and worship of nature. The "Ancient Mother" is the main deity and is something akin to Mother Earth. The shamans are called Mamos and are highly respected. They perform all kinds of rituals, from marriage ceremonies to rites of passage to divination. They are usually the leaders of the village.

What are their needs?
The Wiwas are very poor. Malnutrition is a major problem among the children and medical care is usually at least a day's walk away. The child mortality rate is high. Settlers are encroaching on their land, and many have already been displaced because of violence. Education is very sparse and of poor quality. One of the reasons for this is that there is still no set alphabet to write their language (Damana). They have no part of Bible translated into their language as of yet and no missionary is currently working in their land.

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Country: Colombia
Continent: South America
Region: America, Latin
Persecution Rank:47 (Only top 50 ranked, 1 = highest persecution ranking)
10/40 Window: No
Location in Country:Cesar and La Guajira departments: south and east slopes of Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta.
(Source: Ethnologue 2016)
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Linguistic Map:Ethnologue language map
  Peoples [3]
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People Name in Country: Wiwa, Malayo
People Name General: Wiwa, Malayo
ROP3 Code: 106167
Joshua Project People ID: 13448
Indigenous: Yes
Population in Country: 7,400
Population all Countries: 7,400
Least-Reached: Yes
Affinity Bloc: Latin-Caribbean Americans
People Cluster: South American Indigenous
People Name General: Wiwa, Malayo
Ethnic Code: MIR39e
Ethnic Relationships: Affinity Bloc -> People Cluster -> Peoples Ethnicity Tree
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Primary Language: Malayo (7,400 Speakers)
Language Code (ISO): mbp    Ethnologue Listing
Total Languages: 1
Religion [4]
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Primary Religion: Ethnic Religions
Major Religions:
Buddhism0.00 % 
Christianity2.10 %(Evangelical: 0.40 %)
Ethnic Religions97.90 % 
Hinduism0.00 % 
Islam0.00 % 
Non-Religious0.00 % 
Other / Small0.00 % 
Unknown0.00 % 
Christianity Segments:
Anglican0.00 %
Independent0.00 %
Protestant40.00 %
Orthodox0.00 %
Other Christian0.00 %
Roman Catholic60.00 %
(Evangelicals distributed across Christianity segments)
Progress Indicators [5]
Progress Scale[6]   Few evangelicals and few who claim to be Christians. Little, if any, history of Christianity.
Least-Reached: Yes
GSEC Status:Level 1   Less than 2% Evangelical. Some evangelical resources available, but no active church planting within past 2 years
Bible Translation Status
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Bible Portions: Help start a Bible Translation
New Testament: None Reported
Complete Bible: None Reported
Ministry Resources [7]
Audio RecordingsMegaVoice Audio Bible and Stories
Audio RecordingsAudio Bible teaching (GRN)
Ministry Activity
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Data Notes
Data Sources

Wiwa, Malayo in Colombia

Global                 Global
  Affinity Bloc             Global  
People Cluster
    South American Indigenous     America, Latin    
      Wiwa, Malayo Colombia    
            People-by-Country (Profile)          
            Wiwa, Malayo in Colombia          
      Religion Language  
      Ethnic Religions     Malayo  
    All Religions                              

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