Toba Qom in Paraguay

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: Paraguay
10/40 Window: No
Population: 1,500
World Population: 142,500
Primary Language: Toba
Primary Religion: Christianity
Christian Adherents: 75.00 %
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. There is a cultural fusion between them and the Maskoy tribe. 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?

An ethnic group of hunters and fishermen, and therefore nomadic in spirit, their agriculture has always been precarious.

What Are Their Beliefs?

In terms of myths, beliefs revolving around the tiger occupy a prominent place, both for the common inhabitants of the community and for shamanism, with stories to neutralize the fear of the animal. For them, the tiger transmits power and has a privileged relationship with the shamans, who are considered its owner.

They celebrate festivals such as: Naimatac: to thank the goodness of nature and Negot Qayavó Lenaxat to give names to children. In Argentina they were very influenced by missionaries and Mennonites but still remain the healers and some syncretism.

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 that there be a clear understanding of the gospel among those who do not know the Jesus Christ of the Bible.
Pray that there be interest in spiritual things among the young.
Pray that the missionary team among the Qom maintains a high sensitivity to the culture and language of the people.

Text Source:   Joshua Project