Cuiba in Venezuela

Map Source:  People Group location: IMB. Map geography: ESRI / GMI. Map design: Joshua Project.
People Name: Cuiba
Country: Venezuela
10/40 Window: No
Population: 400
World Population: 1,300
Primary Language: Cuiba
Primary Religion: Ethnic Religions
Christian Adherents: 5.00 %
Evangelicals: 2.00 %
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 Cuiba people of South America call themselves "Wamonae." The majority of them live in the Colombian rainforest. About a third of the tribe lives in southern Venezuela near the Colombian. Several attempts to displace them have been unsuccessful, and they continue to live on their traditional lands. The Cuiba make their living by fishing, hunting, gathering, and by farming.

A New Testament in the Cuiba language became available in 2011. Some Cuiba men are able to speak Spanish so they can communicate with outsiders.

What Are Their Lives Like?

The Cuiba make their homes along the banks of several rivers. Fishing is important to them, as well as hunting. The men hunt monkeys, birds and wild pigs for their meat. Women gather fruit and roots that grows wild nearby. Women make several handcrafts from materials they find in nature. The Cuiba people sell any excess fish or handcrafts to buy things they cannot make for themselves such a metal tools.

The Cuiba tend to marry among themselves. Men pass on life skills to boys while women pass on necessary skills to girls.

Life expectancy is low due to the lack of modern medicine. TB, whopping cough, flu and parasites are common illnesses. Many children die before their tenth birthday.

What Are Their Beliefs?

The Cuiba people are animists who put their faith in the spirit world rather than the power of the God of the Bible. Animists believe that spirits inhabit the objects of nature such as trees, rivers, rocks, animals and the sky. The village shaman connects the Cuiba to the spirit world. He provides rituals, charms and amulets to protect the Cuiba from evil spirits.

There are small groups of Cuiba believers in both Colombia and in Venezuela. These brothers and sisters can obey Christ's command to make Christ known among other members of their tribe.

What Are Their Needs?

The Cuiba have a history of people from outside taking advantage of them. On one occasion not many decades ago, members of the tribe were lured away and killed in an effort to steal their land. There may be an understandable mistrust of outsiders, including missionaries. The Cuiba would greatly benefit from teams bringing modern medicine. Many Cuiba die of preventable diseases each year.

Prayer Points

Pray that the Cuiba believers would be strengthened in the faith and share the good news with their family and friends.

Pray that the Lord would provide pastors and Bible teachers for them.

Pray the Cuiba would know peace and protection from those who wish to take advantage of them.

Pray the Cuiba would have adequate health care and education that respects their community.

Pray for a movement to Christ among the Cuban this decade.

Text Source:   Joshua Project