The Waiapi people live in Brazil's northern state of Amapá near French Guiana. They had their first contact with outsiders in 1973 when the Brazilian government began to build a highway that was discontinued in 1976. It opened up enough of the area for outsiders to reach this tribe. Waiapi died of unfamiliar diseases like measles, but they have built up immunities since the 1970s. Through the 1980s the Waiapi people repelled invasions from outsiders, who violate the 1988 constitutional guarantee to tribes to have their lands protected (demarcated) by the Brazilian government.
Brazil's government is now in favor of moving the Waiapi and opening up their lands to mining interests, ranchers and loggers. The government would like tribes to cease from their traditional lifestyles and adopt those of modern Brazilians. The Waiapi have always been dependent on what they could find in the forest for food and other needs. This would be a major change for them.
If the government succeeds, the Waiapi people will lose a large portion of their land and be forced to drastically change their lifestyles. There are already many fires set by those who want to clear land for ranches. The Amazon has been called the "lungs" of the earth as a reminder that there will be ecological catastrophes if the world's biomass is eliminated. The Waiapi tribe has taken it upon themselves to save the rainforest. In 2019, the Waipai chief, Emyra Waiapi, was brutally murdered. The Waiapi have consulted sympathetic news reporters, foreign governments and Brazil's FUNAI, charged with protecting the interests of indigenous tribes.
There is a sizeable Waiapi group that is Roman Catholic. Most also adhere to traditional religion which involves trying to ward off evil spirits. They make a thick paste of bright red urucum seeds and apply it to their faces and chests. They believe this protects them from the sun and evil spirits. The spirits of the forest are very much a part of the lives of the Waiapi tribe.
The Waiapi people need protection from powerful outside interests. They also need to find a way to earn a living outside of their traditional ways.
Pray for protection and justice for the Waiapi tribe of Brazil.
Pray for them to put their faith in the Creator rather than the spirit world.
Pray for the Lord to show the Brazilian government ways to help their economy without destroying the livelihood of their tribes.
Scripture Prayers for the Waiapi in Brazil.
|Profile Source: Joshua Project
|People Name General
|People Name in Country
|Oiampi; Oyampi; Wajãpi; Wayãpy; Wyampi
|Population this Country
|Population all Countries
|Frontier People Group
|Pioneer Workers Needed
|National Bible Society
|Location in Country
|Pará and Roraima states. Source: Ethnologue 2016
Primary Language: Waiwai
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