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Despite the Bolivian state’s weak presence and the ongoing resistance of local indigenous groups, frontier settlement pushed deeper into Guaraní territory in southeastern Bolivia during the nineteenth century. After repeated confrontations with ranchers and landlords and the failure of Franciscan mediation efforts, the charismatic spiritual and political leader Apiaguaiki Tumpa mobilized independent Guaraní communities in early 1892. The uprising was finally put down, three weeks later, with great bloodshed, and the incorporation of the Guaraní into Bolivian society came primarily in the form of labor servitude.

Juan Ayemoti Guasu was an older man who lived on the Santa Rosa mission. After falling sick, he had been cured by the young Apiaguaiki, who was also an ipaye (shaman). Ayemoti left the mission and became one of the rebel leader’s principal counselors. His letter below, written in broken Spanish and sent to Father Ro-mualdo D’Ambrogi, reflects both his respect for the Franciscans and his conviction that Apiaguaiqui was sent by God. With the defeat at Kuruyuki shortly thereafter, Ayemoti and another close collaborator were executed in the plaza of the Santa Rosa mission.

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