Introduction / History
The Shipobol are part of the Pano linguistic family, whose ceramic work was discovered and can be traced back to 2,000 BC. The name "Shipibo" means "Ape-Men" and reflects the groups origin myth. The Shipobol have united with the Conibo ("Fish-Men") people through intermarriage to form a people that is commonly known as the "Shipobo-Conibo."
Where Are they Located?
The Shipobol's location is tied to the river in the Ucayali region of Peru, occupying 40% of the lower forest region. The Shipobo use the river for transportation and sustenance and are spread out in small communities of up to forty families each.
What Are Their Lives Like?
Men are the heads of the households and rely on their surroundings to provide food for their family units. Because hunting, fishing, and agriculture are not sufficient to provide for Shipobol needs, the group depends on hand-made crafts. As a result, the women are the main breadwinners in Shipobol communities, and not many money-producing opportunities are available.
What Are Their Beliefs?
A majority of the Shipobol are Christian, which reflects the Catholic influence beginning in the 1600s and subsequent Jesuit missions. As a result of the missionary influence, the Shipobol were encouraged to abandon many of their traditional religious practices, which include a nature worship and the conception of the river and forest as mystically connected to the course of the stars.
What Are Their Needs?
The Shipobol's needs include educational training and healthcare, as infant mortality rates remain high. As a result, it is not uncommon for Shipobol women to bear seven or eight children.
Pray that the Shipobol would be reached with the transformative power of the gospel and with a compassionate witness of care for their physical needs.
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