Introduction / History
The Chatino are a pre-Columbian indigenous people whose communities of origin are located in the Southern portion of the Mexican state of Oaxaca. The Chatinos have close cultural and linguistic ties with the Zapotec people, whose languages form the other branch of the Zapotecan language family. Chatinos call their language cha'cña, which means "difficult word." It is recognized as a national language in Mexico, and it has three major dialects, including Sierra Oriental.
What Are Their Lives Like?
Like most indigenous peoples of southern Mexico, the Sierra Oriental Chatinos are agricultural. They grow corn, beans, squash, tomatoes and chilis. Eggs and chicken as their sources of protein. The Chatinos prefer to live together in villages rather than have their farms scattered in this mountainous region.
What Are Their Beliefs?
They grow coffee as a cash crop. This has replaced earning their cash through baskets, blankets and pottery.
The Chatino peoples wear either traditional or modern clothes. Their homes are usually made using adobe and tiles.
Fortunately, there are small airports and schools nearby. Chatino children are able to get schooling through high school thanks to government schools.
The Sierra Oriental Chatino practice a mix of Catholic rituals and traditional religious practices that originated long before contact with the Spanish. Alongside Roman Catholic practices, they believe in many gods such as the Holy Grandmother, Holy Father Sun and Holy Mother Moon. They have traditional gods for water, rain, wind, fire and the mountains. They also believe in the "keytone," or animal spirit, that accompanies a person. Some practice witchcraft and divination. The region of Juquila, Oaxaca, where the Chatino originate from, is the center of worship of the "Virgin of Juquila."
What Are Their Needs?
The Chatino peoples need to put Jesus Christ at the center of their spiritual lives. Saints, spirits and witchcraft are a poor substitute for the King of kings. They need freedom from the fear of spirits that are no match for the power of Christ.
Pray for all Chatino subgroups to put Jesus Christ first in their spiritual lives.
Pray for Mexican Bible believers to go as Christ’s ambassadors to the Chatino peoples.
Pray for Sierra Oriental Chatino disciples to make other disciples who will make even more disciples.
Praise God that the Chatino people are engaging with their New Testament translation!
Scripture Prayers for the Chatino, Sierra Oriental in Mexico.