We refer to the greater Amazon region of South America as a “Green Window”.
Within this contiguous zone there exists:
- 11 countries;
- at least 400-500 tribes;
- 200+ unreached tribes;
- 40+ isolated and uncontacted tribes
Spanning an area larger than the continental United States, the Amazon Basin and its lowland periphery contains half of the world’s remaining tropical forests and one tenth of the world’s animal and plant species. It is also home to between 400 to 500 unique tribal people groups. Some of these tribes are relatively large in population, residing in well-established traditional lands; many others are small bands of nomadic to semi-nomadic groups scattered across some of the most remote and inaccessible corners of the earth. Even today, many of these people groups remain in complete isolation from the outside world, as over 200 Amazon tribes have yet to hear the gospel message of Jesus Christ.
The lack of information currently available to Christian ministries serving in the Amazon Basin is astounding. In spite of a century of missionary work in this region, basic data about tribal divisions, languages and locations, presence of the gospel and strength of tribal churches are often questionable or unknown. So to are many critical life and livelihood issues related to community development, human rights, health and overall wellbeing.
It is within this context of the Great Commission that we have answered a unique calling to serve. As the South America Research Coordinators for the Amazon and Lowland Tribal Empowerment Coalition (ALTECO), our role is not just to understand the region and its people. Our goal is to develop methods and tools with which to empower others – tribal Christians, national ministries and foreign missionaries across the Amazon Basin – so we all may serve cooperatively equipped with accurate and up to date information about the task.