Toba Qom in Argentina

Toba Qom
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Misión Nuevas Tribus / Richard Perik  All rights reserved.  Used with permission
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People Name: Toba Qom
Country: Argentina
10/40 Window: No
Population: 141,000
World Population: 142,500
Primary Language: Toba
Primary Religion: Christianity
Christian Adherents: 95.00 %
Evangelicals: 50.00 %
Scripture: Complete Bible
Online Audio NT: Yes
Jesus Film: No
Audio Recordings: Yes
People Cluster: South American Indigenous
Affinity Bloc: Latin-Caribbean Americans
Progress Level:

Introduction / History

The Toba people are also known as Qom. They live in Argentina and a smaller number are in Paraguay.

The Qom people were hunters and gatherers before the arrival of the Spaniards. Ironically, their resistance to the Spaniards involved using horses for raids. They used horses well both in the grasslands and through wooded areas. The Qom managed to defend themselves from pumas and jaguars who would jump on them from tree branches. They used bows and arrows effectively, but later used firearms to conduct their night-time raids on settlements.

The first conquest of the Qom homeland began in 1884 and lasted until 1916. They called this the Conquest of the Gran Chaco. There were various massacres, and the Qom were eventually forced to work on cotton plantations.

What Are Their Lives Like?

In the 21st century there was controversy regarding the traditional Qom homeland. There were plans to build a university on their homeland, in Argentina’s Formosa Province. This led to demonstrations, even in the Argentine capital. The issue remains unresolved. Others have suffered from tuberculosis and malnutrition.

What Are Their Beliefs?

Although most have a relationship with the Roman Catholic Church, the Qom often participate in both shamanistic and animistic practices. They believe in a supreme being and local spirits. Their shamanistic practices often involve the use of animals, especially for medicinal purposes.

Their Christian influence not only comes from the Roman Catholic Church, but also various Protestant groups like the Anglicans and Pentecostals. There have been a number of shamans who have become leaders in Protestant churches.

What Are Their Needs?

Especially in Argentina, the Qom need their traditional lands protected from outsiders. Both agribusiness and urbanization threatens their land rights. They also face serious health threats. Many have died of tuberculosis and even starvation.

Prayer Points

Pray for there be clear understanding of the gospel message among those who do not know Jesus Christ of the Bible.
Pray there will be increased interest in spiritual things among the young.
Pray the missionary team among the Qom will maintains high sensitivity to the culture and language of the people.
Pray for them to put all their faith in Jesus Christ rather than shamans and spirits.

Text Source:   Joshua Project