Aid to the Church in Need (ACN), has distributed a new translation of its Child’s Bible to the Amazonian Sateré-Mawé people, enabling them to learn scripture in their own language.
More than 1,000 copies of the of the Catholic charity’s Child’s Bible, God Speaks to His Children, have been given to representatives of nearly 30 Sateré-Mawé communities in the Andirá and Marau regions of the Amazon.
ACN said the Sateré-Mawé were in danger of extinction due to disease and neglect by civil authorities. They people numbered just 1,200 in 1972 and are now more than 12,000. The charity said many Sateré-Mawé children now benefit from a network of bilingual schools.
Dercival Santos Batista, a member of the Sateré-Mawé and one of seven locals who translated the new edition of the Child’s Bible, said: “Through this book, our children and our youth will be able to walk along the right path. It is also very important for our own understanding of the Word of God.”
ACN has printed 51,459,477 copies of the Child’s Bible in 193 languages, including over 10 million copies in Brazil alone.
Fr Henrique Uggé, an Italian missionary with the Pontifical Institute for Foreign Missions (PIME), who has spent years working with the native people of the Amazon, said that the Sateré-Mawé will also be able to hear Mass readings in their indigenous tongue, emphasizing that “this will be most useful for them.”
“We all like to hear, read, and meditate on the Word of God in our own language, in our own cultural and historical context,” he added.
The Child’s Bible, which includes key stories from the Old and New Testaments.
Besides the Sateré-Mawé and the standard Portuguese versions, it has been translated into other indigenous Brazilian languages such as Guarani, Tukano, Ticuna, and Macuxi.
ACN said in some cases, the Child’s Bible was the first book ever to be published in that specific language.