Friday, June 27, 2008

Nashville pastor says Mexican Triquis opening up to God

"Nothing in their life to look forward to ... until now"

From Mick Antanaitis, in the Belmont Church "Plog":
Triqui Indians in the state of Oaxaca have the reputation of being an ornery, reclusive, emotionally explosive, and, even violent, people. They fight. They fight with each other—other Triqui clans, villages, and political parties. They fight with other indigenous tribes. They fight with the police and the authorities. They fight with machetes, knives, arson fires, and guns. Just a few weeks ago, two young female Triqui political activists were killed nearby in cold blood. Many other killings are long unsolved. No one talks to outsiders. There is no need. They take care of their own business in their own ways.

“Outsiders” and their influences are generally not tolerated for long. It is not just Christian missionaries who have been run out of their areas, but all kinds of “outsiders.” The gospel has not penetrated very far into the Triqui culture—not from a lack of great trying on the part of some heroic missionaries from all kinds of places and over a long period of time. But it has been tough for the gospel to find the fertile soil that we know exists somewhere among the Triqui people.

However, something new, and incredible, is afoot. At least these 20-25 Triquis are defying the conventional notion that the Triquis will likely remain unresponsive to the message of God found in the Bible for all people. When asked why they come 45 minutes before the 8:00 start time, the elderly couple who arrive first say that for so many, many years they had nothing in their lives that they looked forward to—nothing. But now, they can’t wait for Sunday morning to come. They start thinking about and preparing for the journey on Friday. They can’t wait to fellowship with the others, to enjoy a hot breakfast together provided by their parent Mixteco Indian congregation, to sing songs in their Triqui language, to have the Bible read aloud in Triqui, to have the word taught and explained, to have a safe place to encounter Jesus, to meet other members of the family of God who speak Mixteco, Spanish, and, today, English.
For centuries, the small Triqui indigenous region — a 300 square-mile green oasis situated in the middle of the dry and eroded indigenous Mixteca region of western Oaxaca — has been known for endemic violence. The Triquis resisted Spanish colonial incursions and, in 1823, were the first indigenous people to rise up against the independent Mexican state, successfully beating back an attempt to evict them from their land.

After the Triquis were victorious in defending their territory in two wars — one in 1823, the other in 1843 — the Mexican government decided to shift its approach from direct, armed confrontation to a divide-and-conquer strategy, says Francisco L — pez B├írcenas, a Mixtec indigenous lawyer, historian and author of the forthcoming, San Juan Copala: Political Domination and Popular Resistance.

From the late 19th century to the present, internal divisions in the Triqui region, fomented by the state government, have led to cycles of political killings and massacres.

1 comment:

  1. To learn more about the Copala Triqui people referred to in this article see


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