Work Among The Minor Tribes

The Jesuits are a religious order of priests and brothers in the Catholic Church,

committed to the service of Christ and his people.

☇ Work Among The Minor Tribes

About 10% of the tribal peoples of India live in Jharkhand. Jharkhand State has a higher than average tribal population where they make up 26.3% of the total population. It was among the larger tribes, the Uraons, the Mundas and the Kharias that the missionaries found the most ready acceptance of the Gospel. And until recently the Jesuit pastoral apostolate was confined almost exclusively to these three groups. The story of the apostolate among the Hazaribag Province Santals is told in another section of this report. The Santals tribe is a big tribe population wise in Jharkhand.

The apostolate among some of the minor tribes is a more recent undertaking of the Province. The Nagesias and Baraiks of western Latehar District have lived for centuries in neighbourly relations with the Uraons, and some groups of families of both tribes are an active part of the Catholic community of Mahuadanr and the nearby parishes.

The Korwas, Brijias and Asurs are classified by sociologists as hunter-gathers, though more recently they engage in agriculture or take work in mines. The Brijias are looked after by the parishes of Latehar District, and children are beginning to attend schools. The parish of Jamuniatand in Garhwa District is almost totally for Korwas. They have a central High School and the medical work is in the hands of the CIC Sisters. The Asurs inhabit the southern section of the Netarhat plateau. Although their traditional craft was iron smelting they now do some farming or work in the bauxite mines. Some of their children attend school in Pakripath. All of these minor tribes are an easy target for mining companies and many have cheaply surrendered their land to land sharks, to become landless labourers. They are a challenge to the Jesuit social activists.

“For Ignatius being a Companion of Jesus in His Salvific mission gave direction and purpose to life. Companionship with Jesus in Mission is Central to Ignatian Spirituality.”

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