Matis in Brazil

The Matis have only been reported in Brazil
Main Language
Largest Religion
Progress Gauge

Introduction / History

The Matis were once one of the most isolated tribes in the world. Unfortunately, they have been exploited at times by outsiders. The Matis live in northeastern Brazil near the Peruvian border in the Amazon rainforest. Due the small number of Matis, a flu or other type of epidemic could wipe out the entire Matis population.

There are currently no Christian resources available in the Matis language. There are few if any followers of Christ in this small tribe.

What Are Their Lives Like?

Life for the Matis people of Brazil has changed over the past decade. About half of the tribe has moved to towns to take advantage of educational and economic opportunities unavailable in the rainforest. The lifestyle of the half of the Matis who live in towns is similar to other urban Brazilians. They learn to speak Portuguese and enroll their children in government schools. The adults often must take menial types of employment due to their lack of job skills.

For the portion of the tribe that still lives in the forest, much of their food is obtained through hunting game, such as monkeys, wild pigs and birds that they kill with blowguns. Their women also gather edible wild fruits and roots. Fishing and farmed foods supplement their diet. The Matis grow manioc that serves as their staple food.

The life expectancy among isolated tribal groups like the Matis is low, about 45 years. Tribal people often die of parasites, flu, hepatitis or TB.

The rural Matis marry within their group. Couples frequently have many children due to the fact that many of the children do not live to reach their tenth birthday. Adult children must care for their parents if the parent lives to an older age. More and more Matis young people are moving to towns and leaving the ancient lifestyle of their grandparents.

What Are Their Beliefs?

The Matis believe in a lifeforce that they call “xo.” This force can be manipulated to one’s advantage by rituals and offerings. Some Matis believe that spirits inhabit the objects of nature such as rivers, trees, mountains, animals, and the sky. These spirits must be appeased, or they can bring harm to the people. The Matis live in constant fear of offending the lifeforce and the spirits. The Matis do not worship either spirits or their ancestors.

What Are Their Needs?

Christian teams can bring modern medicine to the Matis. The Matis would also benefit from water filters so they can have a regular supply of clean water. Most of all, the Matis need to hear and understand the good news of Jesus Christ. He alone can forgive their sins and deliver them from their fear of evil spirits.

Prayer Points

Pray for the Lord to provide for physical and spiritual needs of the Matis as a testimony of his power and love.

Pray that the Matis people will have a spiritual hunger that will open their hearts to the Savior.

Pray for a disciple making movement to Christ among the Matis to begin this decade.

Pray that the Matis living in towns would be exposed to the gospel by Brazilian believers.

Scripture Prayers for the Matis in Brazil.

Profile Source:   Joshua Project  

Additional Info
Global Prayer Digest: 2010-05-10
Global Prayer Digest: 2014-05-22
People Name General Matis
People Name in Country Matis
Population this Country 400
Population all Countries 400
Total Countries 1
Indigenous Yes
Progress Scale 1
Unreached Yes
Frontier People Group Yes
GSEC 1  (per
Pioneer Workers Needed 1
Alternate Names Deshan Mikitbo; Mushabo
People ID 18847
ROP3 Code 114661
Country Brazil
Region America, Latin
Continent South America
10/40 Window No
National Bible Society Website
Persecution Rank Not ranked
Location in Country Amazonas state: Atalaia do Norte municipality; on Peru border; Javari valley.   Source:  Ethnologue 2016
Country Brazil
Region America, Latin
Continent South America
10/40 Window No
National Bible Society Website
Persecution Rank Not ranked
Location in Country Amazonas state: Atalaia do Norte municipality; on Peru border; Javari valley..   Source:  Ethnologue 2016

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Ethnolinguistic map or other map

Primary Language Matis (400 speakers)
Language Code mpq   Ethnologue Listing
Language Written Unknown
Total Languages 1
Primary Language Matis (400 speakers)
Language Code mpq   Ethnologue Listing
Total Languages 1
People Groups Speaking Matis

Primary Language:  Matis

Bible Translation Status:  Translation Needed

Resource Type Resource Name Source
Audio Recordings Audio Bible teaching Global Recordings Network
Primary Religion: Ethnic Religions
Major Religion Percent
0.00 %
Christianity  (Evangelical 0.00 %)
0.00 %
Ethnic Religions
100.00 %
0.00 %
0.00 %
0.00 %
Other / Small
0.00 %
0.00 %
Christian Segments Percent
0.0 %
0.0 %
0.0 %
Other Christian
0.0 %
0.0 %
Roman Catholic
100.0 %
Photo Source Marcelo Camargo/Agência Brasil - Wikimedia  Creative Commons 
Profile Source Joshua Project  
Data Sources Data is compiled from various sources. Read more