God in the Rainforest
Missionaries and the Waorani in Amazonian Ecuador
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Publisher: Oxford University Press
In January of 1956, five young evangelical missionaries were speared to death by a band of the Waorani people in the Ecuadorian Amazon. Two years later, two missionary women-the widow of one of the slain men and the sister of another-with the help of a Wao woman were able to establish peaceful relations with the same people who had killed their loved ones. The highly publicized deaths of the five men and the subsequent efforts to Christianize the Waorani quickly became the defining missionary narrative for American evangelicals during the second half of the twentieth century. God in the Rainforest traces the formation of this story and shows how Protestant missionary work among the Waorani came to be one of the missions most celebrated by Evangelicals and most severely criticized by anthropologists and others who accused missionaries of destroying the indigenous culture. Kathryn T. Long offers a study of the complexities of world Christianity at the ground level for indigenous peoples and for missionaries, anthropologists, environmentalists, and other outsiders. For the first time, Long brings together these competing actors and agendas to reveal one example of an indigenous people caught in the cross-hairs of globalization.