Nanti in Peru

Send Joshua Project a photo
of this people group.
Send Joshua Project a map of this people group.
People Name: Nanti
Country: Peru
10/40 Window: No
Population: 300
World Population: 300
Primary Language: Nanti
Primary Religion: Ethnic Religions
Christian Adherents: 0.00 %
Evangelicals: 0.00 %
Scripture: Portions
Online Audio NT: No
Jesus Film: No
Audio Recordings: Yes
People Cluster: South American Indigenous
Affinity Bloc: Latin-Caribbean Americans
Progress Level:

Introduction / History

First known contact with the Nanti occurred in 1974, when Dominican monks began working among them. During this period, sickness epidemics greatly reduced the Nanti population, who became torn between a fear of outsiders and a desire to trade for metal tools. Since then, Dominican monks have established elementary schools (with materials in Spanish), medical outposts, and trainings for health promoters among the Nanti people. The Dominican monks continue working among the Nanti to this day, and currently there are no other mission efforts among them.

In 1995, a team with the Summer Institute of Linguistics (SIL) paired up with an evangelist from the nearby Machiguenga tribe to establish a school, translate the New Testament, and teach the people about God. One community responded by building a church, memorizing some Scripture, and learning Machiguenga hymns. No one has yet put his or her faith in Christ, and the Nanti people remain without any known believers or functioning churches to this day. However, their positive interactions with the Machiguenga missionary leave the door open to future interactions with evangelicals.

Where Are they Located?

The Nanti people live along Camisea and Timpía Rivers as well as along the headwaters of the Ticumpinía River in the southern jungle of Peru. Their land is part of the Kugapakori, Nahua, and Nanti Reserve.

What Are Their Lives Like?

The Nanti live in some level of voluntary isolation on a reservation with limited access. Previously, they lived in small settlements with one or two large communal houses that would shelter 10-40 people. Different settlements had infrequent but friendly contact.

Today, the Nanti live in larger groups. The men are expert hunters and fishermen who prefer to use the bow and arrow. Both men and women typically wear adornments made from seeds, monkey teeth, and bark fiber; women also wear woven skirts and nose-discs made from fish scales. Manioc is the principal crop and plays such a crucial role in Nanti culture that many people refuse to eat a meal without it. Most Nanti people are illiterate. The Nanti remain torn between the desire to integrate further into outside society in hopes of gaining more clothing, metalwork, and health care and the fear of being exploited if they increase their contact with the outside world.

What Are Their Beliefs?

The Nanti hold to animistic views that seek to discover spiritual causes for life problems and resolve them through shamanistic rituals. They attribute physical problems to curses whose source could be anything from a witch to a bird. Shamanism is particularly strong among the Nanti, where the people are accustomed to viewing the shaman as a helpful mediator and using plants not only for their medicinal qualities but also for their magical qualities.

What Are Their Needs?

The Nanti people are highly vulnerable to diseases and common illnesses, as they have only recently come into contact with outsiders and their immune systems have not yet fully adjusted. They need increased health care, as they are a limited population that could easily be wiped out through an sickness epidemic.

The Nanti need evangelism, discipleship, church plants, and leadership training.

Prayer Points

Pray for God's protection over the Nanti people, as increased exposure to both chemicals and Western illnesses put their limited population in danger of reduction.
Pray for the Nanti to have increased access to appropriate health care.
Pray that in all their interactions with Westerners, they will be able to make wise decisions with long-term benefit.
Pray for an effective and culturally appropriate gospel witness among the Nanti people. Pray that they will come to know Jesus and receive both biblical training and life-on-life discipleship.
Pray that Nanti pastors and spiritual leaders will rise up and help establish an independent Nanti church.

Text Source:   Pioneers