Photo Source: Duane Frasier
Send Joshua Project a map of this people group.
|Online Audio NT:
The Yautepec Zapotecs are an indigenous community in southern Mexico. The Zapotecs were an indigenous people who ruled the land prior to Incas and the Aztecs and archeologists have uncovered cities and towns that once served as capitals of a thriving empire.
The Zapotecs call themselves bene zaa, which means either "the native people" or "the cloud people." The Zapotecs believed they were descendants of beings that lived in the clouds, and because of this belief and their choice to live in highland areas, they are sometimes referred to as ''the cloud people.''
They speak Yautepec Zapotec, an Oto-Manguean Language, which is a divergent Zapotec language. Though their homeland is in Western Oaxaca in southern Mexico, many have moved to other parts of Mexico and the United States.
At present, many of them live in titled communal lands. Their houses that still have wood stoves and/or a small fireplace in which they use embers to cook food.
Agriculture is the main occupation of the Zapotecs. Their main foods include various types of moles and yellow tamales.
They rely on the barter system (an ancient method of selling and buying goods) for all their needs. They gather every Thursday at the largest open air market of the Zapotecs in Oaxaca to do business. Yautepec Zapotecs buy and sell fruits, vegetables, livestock such as pig, oxen etc., and also farming implements and other agricultural products. They also sell their crafts of pottery, ceramics and palm fiber. They are known for their self-sustaining ways of life.
The women wear traditional clothing consisting of long skirt, long overtunic (huipil), and a shawl or wraparound headpiece, while the men wear wide, loose trousers, loose shirt, sometimes with pleats, sandals, and straw or wool hat.
The Zapotecs were polytheists and they worshipped more than one god; they also worshipped their ancestors. Their two main gods were the rain-god, Concijo, and a god named Coquihani, who represented light. At one time their religious tradition involved rituals of human-sacrifice, as an appeal to the gods for intervention, such as a plea for rain in a time of drought or as a show of gratitude when the gods answered their pleas.
After the conquest of their nation by the Spaniards, they were forced to embrace Roman Catholicism. Since the mid-20th century, the arrival of Protestant missionaries has led many to become either Protestants or Pentecostals. Many of the Yautepec Zapotecs Roman Catholics have incorporated various traditions and rituals into their religious worship to maintain their ancestral culture and a sense of unity within the community. This difference in the approach to their faith remains a source of contention among the believers.
Many Yautepec Zapotecs live in unsanitary conditions due to the overgrowth of population and improper trash disposal system. Many of them suffer from serious health conditions due to pollution of their environment.
Pray that the believers would stand firm in the faith and would be able to differentiate between essentials of faith and the ways of their culture.
Pray that the people will be able to peruse the translations of the Zapotec Bible, gospel recordings and the JESUS Film available in their language to strengthen their faith and spread the gospel.
Pray for SIL (Summer Institute of Linguistics) and its language translators, as they strive to translate various portions of the Bible in the Zapotec language. Pray that the Lord provides exceptional wisdom and understanding with the work they undertake to deliver the word of God into the hands of the people.
Pray that the Lord would bind the spiritual forces of darkness and lead unbelievers to see the light and truth of the gospel and the need for a Savior in Jesus Christ.