Is God An American? An Anthropological Perspective on the Missionary Work of the Summer Institute of Linguistics
The Wycliffe Bible Translators (WBT)/Summer Institute of Linguistics (SIL), one of the largest missionary enterprises in the world, aims to bring »the Word« to the »Bibleless tribes«. In pursuit of converts, SIL missionaries have profoundly affected indigenous societies throughout the world. SIL's method of proselytising and its relationships with host countries have provoked many questions and criticisms. Especially in South America SIL has been accused of acting as a cover for CIA and US military activities, for drug trafficking, for uranium prospecting. But the precise impact of SIL on indigenous peoples has received much less attention. How has the SIL affected the lives and aspirations of native peoples? Have the benefits of literacy, better health care, etc. brought by the missionaries outweighed the damage wrought by the destruction of traditional belief? This book contains the findings of 14 anthropologists, each of whom has specialist knowledge of indigenous peoples in South America. As well as examining SIL's activities at the local level, the essays explore the historical and economic background of this missionary enterprise in the USA and the history of its involvement in South America.