Caquinte in Peru

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People Name: Caquinte
Country: Peru
10/40 Window: No
Population: 400
World Population: 400
Primary Language: Caquinte
Primary Religion: Ethnic Religions
Christian Adherents: 5.00 %
Evangelicals: 4.00 %
Scripture: New Testament
Online Audio NT: No
Jesus Film: No
Audio Recordings: Yes
People Cluster: South American Indigenous
Affinity Bloc: Latin-Caribbean Americans
Progress Level:

Introduction / History

The Caquinte people lived in relative isolation for most of the 20th century. In the 1960s, a dying Caquinte chief had a vision of a white man and told his family to move to a Machiguenga community where a missionary family with the Summer Institute of Linguistics (SIL) lived. His family moved there, heard the gospel, and formed a new village where they could open a school and have the Bible translated into Caquinte. They invited many other Caquinte clans to join them.

In past decades through the work of foreign mission agencies, many Caquinte people accepted Christ, and two of the three Caquinte villages have had a functioning church. Today, about 60 people are interested in learning more about God, while only about 15 of those people can accurately explain the gospel. A small group of believers still meets regularly. However, the believers lack personal discipleship, and their biblical understanding is low, since even Caquinte leaders are semi-literate and would benefit from further training in reading their heart language.

Where Are they Located?

The Caquinte live in the central jungle region of Peru along the Poyeni and Agueni Rivers in the departments of Junin and Cuzco.

What Are Their Lives Like?

The Caquinte live a daily subsistence lifestyle based on farming, fishing, and hunting. Men's work typically involves building houses, making bows and arrows, and hunting, while females devote themselves to housework and raising children, and some also make clothing and pottery. Both men and women participate in farming and fishing.

Historically, they have favored living in small family clans, as every attempt at consolidating into a larger group has ended unsuccessfully. In the distant past, the Caquinte made coats out of bark fiber that they would wear at night, but more recently they have adopted the loose cotton tunics of the neighboring Asháninka and Ashéninka tribes. The Caquinte people highly value generosity and community visits, and they typically spend the later afternoon socializing.

What Are Their Beliefs?

The Caquinte hold to animistic views that seek to discover spiritual causes for life problems and resolve them through shamanistic rituals. Shamanism is particularly strong among the Caquinte, where the people view the shaman as a helpful mediator and use plants not only for their medicinal qualities but also for their magical qualities. The Caquinte fear the spirit world, as they believe all spirits are evil and intent on causing harm. Animism presents a strong challenge to church planting, as new believers often mix their previous worldview with Christianity and attempt to live out both realities.

What Are Their Needs?

Since the Caquinte are semi-literate, they need further literacy and Bible training in order to gain a fuller understanding of Scripture.

They also have a strong need for contextualized discipleship, as Christian views are largely mixed in with animistic practices, and most believers do not know how to apply the truths of Scripture to their daily lives. While they have benefitted from theological training, the Caquinte often struggle with knowing how to apply that training at home or pass it on to others.

Prayer Points

* Please pray for the Caquinte church to be firmly established with local leadership and consistent meetings.
* Pray for local, life-on-life discipleship for Caquinte believers.
* Pray that they will have wisdom and God's guidance in understanding the various influences around them and making choices about how they wish to integrate and communicate with outside society.

Text Source:   Pioneers