Puinave in Venezuela

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People Name: Puinave
Country: Venezuela
10/40 Window: No
Population: 1,500
World Population: 11,000
Primary Language: Puinave
Primary Religion: Christianity
Christian Adherents: 60.00 %
Evangelicals: 0.70 %
Scripture: New Testament
Online Audio NT: Yes
Jesus Film: Yes
Audio Recordings: Yes
People Cluster: South American Indigenous
Affinity Bloc: Latin-Caribbean Americans
Progress Level:

Introduction / History

In the late 1800s and early 1900s, there was a rubber boom in South America that caused great harm to indigenous peoples like the Puinave. Their home of the Puinave borders a savanna and a tropical rain forest. They live mainly in Colombia and Venezuela, but a small number have migrated to the United States.

What Are Their Lives Like?

In their South American homeland, the Puinave survive through slash-and-burn farming, fishing and hunting. Their yearly cycle centers around the wet and dry seasons. The only crop that they plant two seasons in a row is manioc, a root vegetable that grows well in the jungle. They also keep their fruit trees alive for yearly harvests. As farmers they are well acquainted with various soil types and their uses. Village territory is owned by the group, but families have rights to the produce they cultivate and the goods they gather from the jungle. They also have fishing rights to certain places. At one time they used blowguns and poison darts for hunting, but now they use shotguns.
Youths are initiated during a time of sexual abstinence and hallucinogenic drugs at which time they are taught their mythology and rituals. Evangelical missionaries have tried to get them to replace these practices.

What Are Their Beliefs?

Over half of the Puinave are Christian, usually Roman Catholic, but sometimes Evangelical. Their traditional beliefs remain to this day. Some blend these with Christianity while others stay true to the old religion.

What Are Their Needs?

The Puinave people need to put Jesus first in their lives. They need to understand the Bible and use it to discern what cultural practices please God and which ones need to be discarded.

Prayer Points

Pray for the Puinave people to put Jesus first and learn from him so they can have rest for their souls.
Pray for Puinave Christ followers to teach others who in turn will teach even more people about the Savior.
Pray for the Lord to provide the Puinave with justice and mercy as a testimony of his power and goodness.

Text Source:   Joshua Project