Collection 599 Ephemera of the "Auca" Incident
Scope and Contents
Audio tapes, comic book, film, filmstrips, oversize materials, phonograph records, postage stamps, and video tapes documenting the martyrdom of five American missionaries in Ecuador by the Huaorani Indians in 1956. Documents describe the deaths of the missionary, the response by Protestant evangelical Christians in the United States, and later missionary work with the Indians by Rachel Saint and Elisabeth Elliot.
- Created: 1956-1993, undated
Conditions Governing Access
Video Tape 1 may not be copied.
Biographical or Historical Information
The Huaorani Indians were a small, isolated stone age tribe living in the jungles of eastern Ecuador. They were noted for their violence against their own people and outsiders who ventured into their territory. After the deaths of the five missionaries and contact with missionaries Rachel Saint and Elisabeth Elliot many became Christians and gave up their hostilities.
Chronology of Events The Waorani Indians were a small, isolated stone age tribe living in the jungles of eastern Ecuador. Also known as “Aucas” (the Quechua word for “naked savages”). They were noted for their violence against their own people and outsiders who ventured into their territory
Late 1940s - Dayuma, a young Waorani Indian flees from her village after her father and relatives are speared by other Waoranis.
1950s - Jim Elliot first hears of the Waorani Indians. He and Pete Fleming travel to Ecuador and are later joined by Ed McCully and Roger Youderian. They plan to reached to Waoranis with the Christian Gospel.
September 1955 - First sighting of a Waorani settlement by Nate Saint, a pilot with Mission Aviation Fellowship, from his airplane.
January 3, 1956 - The five missionaries (including Saint) set up camp on a sandy beach which they named, “Palm Beach,” on the Curaray River, a few miles from the Waorani settlement they called, "Terminal City."
January 6, 1956 - Two Waorani women, Gimade (nicknamed “Delilah” by the missionaries) and Mintake and a young Waorani man, Nenkiwi (nicknamed “George”) visit with the missionaries at Palm Beach
January 8, 1956 - Five missionaries speared and killed by six Waorani Indians
January 12-13, 1956 - Missionaries bodies are discovered and buried the next day by the United States Air Force Air Rescue Service and a group of missionaries, guides, and soldiers.
January 1956 - HCJB broadcasts the first reports of what becomes know as the “Auca Incident” to the world. The story received wide coverage in religious and secular press.
January 30, 1956 - Life magazine article, “‘Go Ye and Preach the Gospel’ Five Do and Die” with extensive coverage of the death of the missionaries. The article includes several photos taken by Life photographer Cornell Capa. October 1956
Wheaton College renames two student dormitoires Elliot Hall, and Saint Hall and renamed the the football/track atheltic field McCully Field after the three missionaires who had attend the college 1956
Five Missionary Martyrs Fund established by the Evangelical Fellowship of Mission Agencies "to provide for the widows and fatherless children of the brave missionaries martyred in the jungles of Ecuador"
1957 - Through Gates of Splendor by Elisabeth Elliot is published. Tells the story of the efforts of five missionaries to reach the Waorani Indians with the Christian gospel and the deaths
September-October 1958 - Radio station HCJB in Quite, Ecuador broadcasts the Back Home Hour program about the initial contact and beginnings of the work with the Waorani Indians
September 1958 - Dayuma returns to Waorani village with two Waorani Indian women, Nintoca and Mintamo, and later they come back to Arajuno, Ecuador with ten others. They report the Waorani are friendly and invite Rachel Saint and Betty Elliot to come and permanently live with them
October 1958 - Rachel Saint and Betty Elliot with her daughter Valerie travel to the Waorani settlement on the Tiwaenu River and live there, Elliot for a few years and Saint for the rest of her life.
1958 - Conversion of several Waorani men (Dyuwi, Gikita, Kimo, Mincaye) who participated in the killing of the missionaries.
1958 - Operation Auca by Fay Smart
1959 - Jungle Pilot: the Life and Witness of Nate Saint by Russell Hitt
1960 - The Dayuma Story by Ethel Wallis
1961 - Elisabeth Elliot’s book The Savage is My Kinsman is published.
1963 - The film I Saw Aucas Pray produced by Kent Films, Inc.
1966 - Yaeti Kimo and Gikita Komi (Waorani Indians) gave their testimonies at the World Congress on Evangelism in Berlin.
1970 - Kathy and Steve Saint, children of Nate Saint, baptized by Dyuwi and Kimo in the Curaray River
1978 - Journals of Jim Elliot edited by Elisabeth Elliot is published
1989 - Shadow of the Almighty : The Life & Testament of Jim Elliot, by Elisabeth Elliot
1990 - Unfolding Destinies: the Untold Story of Peter Fleming and the Auca Mission by Olive Fleming Liefeld
Nov. 11, 1994 - Rachel Saint died in Quito, Ecuador and was buried in Toñampade, Ecuador where she had lived with the Waorani.
1995-1996 - Steve Saint and his family live with the Waoranis and help build an airport and a hospital
September 16, 1996 - Steve Saint’s article, Did They Have to Die?, in Christianity Today magazine
ca. 1990s - Steve Saint established I-TEC (Indigenous People’s Technology & Educational Center) to assist the “hidden” church in its journey toward independence
2000 - Steve Saint accompanies Waoranis Indiana Mincaye and Tementa who give their testimonies at the International Conference for Itinerant Evangelists (Amsterdam 2000)
2005 - Steve Saints’s book End of the Spear is published and film by the same title is released
0.5 Cubic Feet (1 Box (DC) Audio Tapes, Film, Filmstrips, Oversize Materials, Phonograph Records, Video Tapes )
Language of Materials
Arrangement of Material
The materials in this collection relate to the “Auca” Incident and were given to the Archives. Their arrangement was by the processing archivist. The documents relay the efforts to reach the Waorani Indians of Ecuador with the Christian gospel, the deaths of five American missionaries, response of American evangelicals, and continued ministry by Rachel Saint.
Series: I. Paper Records
Arrangement: Alphabetical by folder title
Date Range: 1956, 1959, n.d.
Volume: 0.325 cubic feet
Geographic coverage: Ecuador
Type of documents: Comic book, postage stamps, magazine and newspaper clippings, transcripts
Subjects: Ecuador, Elisabeth Elliot, Jim Elliot, Peter Fleming, Ed McCully, Nate Saint, Rachel Saint, Waorani Indians, Roger Youderian
Notes: Transcripts for two audio tapes (T1, T2) and filmstrips, Mid-Century Martyrs (FS1) and Unforgettable Friday (FS1), are in folder 1-4. These transcripts relate the story about the lives and martyrdom of the five missionaries. Folder 1-2 contains one envelope (no letter) addressed to Mr. H. Garfield of Birmingham, Michigan from E. McCully in Quito, Ecuador. It was postmarked March 28, no year visible. Oversize folder OS40 contains clippings about the death of the missionaries and the work of Rachel Saint and Elisabeth Elliot with the Aucas (including a complete copy of the January 30, 1956 issue of Life magaizne with Cornell Capaâ€™s stories and photos.). A set of five mint Ecuador commemorative postage stamps in honor of the five missionaries are in folder 1-3. A Spire Christian Comics, Through Gates of Splendor, from Fleming H. Revell Company in folder 1-1 is based on Elisabeth Elliotâ€™s book by the same name. Folder 1-5 contains several articles from the Wycliffe Bible Translators magazine, Translation, about work among the Waorani.
Exceptional items: A complete copy of the January 30, 1956 issue of Life magazine featuring the death of the missionaries is in OS40.
Series: II. Audio Visual Materials
Arrangement: Chronological by date
Date Range: 1956-1959, 1962, 1993
Volume: 0.1 cubic feet
Geographic coverage: Ecuador
Type of documents: Audio tapes, film, filmstrips, phonograph records, video tapes
Subjects: Ecuador, Jim and Elisabeth Elliot, Pete and Olive Fleming, Ed and Marilou McCully, Mission Aviation Fellowship, Nate and Marj Saint, Rachel Saint, Waorani Indians, Roger and Barbara Youderian
Notes: Filmstrips Mid-Century Martyrs (FS1) and Unforgettable Friday (FS2) have accompanying audio tapes (T1, T2) and transcripts (folder 1-4). Mid-Century Martyrs is about the lives and martyrdom of the five missionaries and Unforgettable Friday, narrated by Marj Saint, tells the story of Nate Saint and his family, missionary work with Mission Aviation Fellowship and involvement in Operation Auca. Filmstrip FS2 has a second section spliced onto it titled, World of Opportunity, which is produced by MAF and is a promotional piece about the work on MAF. There is no audio tape or transcript for this section. There is also a booklet in Spanish on the same topic.
Exceptional items: Audio tape T3 contains six episodes of the Back Home Hour programs broadcast on radio station HCJB. All but the first one is narrated by Marj Saint, widow of Nate Saint.
1. Narration by unnamed individual. Dayuma travel to the Waorani settlement three weeks before along with two other Waoranis, Nintoca and Mintamo. Later the group returns to Arajuno with other Waoranis and report they were received in a friendly manner. They gave information about Nenkiwi “George,” who was killed by other Waoranis. September 29, 1958, about 4½ minutes
2. The history of Operation “Auca” is given along with information on the current contact with the Waoranis. Return of Dayuma and others to Waoranis settlement. Nenkiwi’s wife mentioned that according to tribal custom, she strangled her child, and placed her in the grave with him. October 5, 1958, about 10 minutes.
3. Betty Elliot and her daughter, Valerie, and Rachel Saint and Waoranis travel to the Waorani settlement. October 12, 1958, about 3 minutes.
4 Reports from both Elliot and Saint who just arrived at the Waorani village are read. October 19, 1958, about 2 ½ minutes.
5. Saint reads portions of Elliot’s letter about life in Waorani land living conditions, foods, Valerie’s adaptation to village life and meeting the men who killed her father, describes death of missionaries, and death and burial of Nenkiwi. November 2, 1958, about 8 minutes.
6. Marj Saint reads a report from Rachel Saint titled, “Night Life.” November 9, 1958, about 5 minutes.
Audio tape T4 is a HCJB Memorial radio program for Five Martyrs on the 3rd anniversary of their deaths. It was broadcast fromQuito, Ecuador on the Back Home Hour on radio station HCJB, January 11, 1959. The sound is scratchy and fades in and out. Program consists of musical numbers including solos by Joe Springer, missionary to Ecuador, and short messages by Fred and Clara Elliot (parents of Jim Elliot) and Betty Elliot.
The film (F1), I Saw Aucas Pray, was produced by Kent Films, Inc. and is narrated by Rachel Saint and her brother, Phil. It begins with a brief dramatization of radio reports about the missionaries deaths in Ecuador, and continues with scenes of Waorani village life after Rachel Saint and Betty Elliot arrived including construction of a home and an air strip, church worship service, Quito street scenes, arrival of Phil Saint who relates his feelings upon landing at the village, Waoranis gathering, hunting, and fishing, Bible translating by Rachel assisted by Dayuma, Waoranis being taught to read their own language, Phil Saint giving an evangelistic message by chalk drawing, baptism of nine Waoranis, arrival at Palm Beach were Gikita explains events of the day when the missionaries died, praying over the graves, individual and group shots of the five surviving Waoranis (Mintake, Mincaye, Dyuwi, Gikita, Kimo) who took part in the attack. Film ends with these encouraging words, how can I doubt the power of God to reach the down river group [Waoranis] when I saw Aucas pray on Palm Beach.
Video tape V1, Rachel Saint and the Aucas, is a Day of Discovery television program produced by Radio Bible Class. It gives the history of the missionaries attempts to reach the Waoranis and their martyrdom. Includes interview clips with Rachel Saint, and the Waoranis Gikita, Kimo, Dyuwi, Dayuma.
Video tape V2 was a film prodcued by Elisabeth Elliot immediately after she had ceased lving with the Waorani. It contains film footage shot by Nate Saint, herself and others in the Waroni village and other sites and photos taken by Life magazine photogrpaher Cornell Capa. The narration is by Elisabeth Elliot, with some comments by Capa. The film tells the story of Operation Auca and the work that she and Rachel Saint began among th Waorani, 1958-1961.
Video tape V2 was produced four decades later. It includes a summary of the sotry as told in V2 (with some of the same footage) and much new footage and inerviews with members of the tribe, taking th story of the work among the Waorani down to the 21th century. Steve Saint, son of Nate Saint, provides the narration.
The Auca Story phonograph records (P1-P3) present a documented retelling of the events from September 1955 to July 1962 in Ecuador. Includes voices of the five widows, three of their children (Valerie Elliot, Kathy and Steve Saint), Rachel Saint, Clarence Jones, Dr. V. Raymond Edman, Abe Van Der Puy, Dr. Wilfred Tidmarsh, and others. The Auca Story (titles from record labels)
Side 1 - P1
Five brave, dedicated men bridge the Stone-age gap
A yellow plane on Palm Beach
Crackle of jungle Radio
A house in the trees
“We Rest on Thee”
Side 2 - P2
A Squirming Paradise
Red carpet for an Auca
“So long, Girls!”
The Terrible silence
The Stripped plane
News like lightning
Air and ground support of two nations
Side 3 - P3
Plodding Search Party
“Four bodies found!”
A Jungle grave
The raging elements
Hall of Fame
Widows’ graveside service
Side 4 - P3
Word from a wee Saint
Glitter of a medal
“Through Gates of Splendor”
Sounds of Auca voices
An Auca at Wheaton College
Side 5 - P2
Back to the Aucas
“Jesus Loves Me”
Sizzling monkey meat
“Is That my daddy?”
Rachel Saint among the Aucas
Savage killers can love
Side 6 - P1
From Savagery to Saviour
Conversion of the killers
Nine in the rippling waters
Present word of the widows
Several other collections in the BGC Archives have information about the Auca incident including Collection 113 - Records of BGEA: Films and Video Tapes, Collection 165 - Records of the Evangelical Fellowship of Mission Agencies (EFMA), Collection 136 - Records of Mission Aviation Fellowship (MAF), and Collection 277 - Papers of Philip James Elliot. After the deaths of the missionaries EFMA set up the Five Missionary Martyrs Fund to “provide for the widows and fatherless children.” A decade of Nate Saint’s correspondence is in the MAF collection.
Accruals and Additions
Materials were given to the Archives of the Billy Graham Center by Ruth Mellis in October 1981, Olga Kruck in March 1988, Radio Bible Class in February 1993, Robert Johnson in May 1993, Harold Cook, Jr. in March 1995, David Kucharsky in December 1998, Robert Carlson in May 2002, and James Mann, Jr. in December 2002.
Accession: 81-118, 88-21, 93-25, 93-73, 95-8, 95-52, 98-81, 02-39
February 20, 2008
Wayne D. Weber
May 31, 2013
List of Individuals Connected with “Auca Incident”
Dyuwi Tani: One of the six Waorani men who took part in the attack at Palm Beach. He became a Christian and elder in the Waorani church. He and Kimo baptized Kathy and Steve Saint, children of Nate Saint, in the Curaray River in 1970.
Elliot, Elisabeth: Wife of Jim Elliot and missionary to the Waorani.
Elliot, Philip James “Jim”: Graduated from Wheaton College in 1949, Plymouth Brethren missionary with Christian Missions in Many Lands, one of the five killed in Ecuador.
Fleming, Peter “Pete”: Graduated from the University of Washington, Plymouth Brethren missionary with Christian Missions in Many Lands, one of the five killed in Ecuador.
Gikita Wawae: Leader of the attack at Palm Beach.
Gimade: Sister of Dayuma. Visited the missionaries on Palm Beach and was nicknamed “Delilah” by the missionaries.
Jones, Clarence: Co-founder of radio station HCJB, which did the first radio broadcasts about the men’s death.
Kimo Yeti: One of the six Waorani men who took part in the attack at Palm Beach. Rachel Saint took him to Berlin, German for a Billy Graham evangelistic conference . He and Dyuwi baptized Kathy and Steve Saint, children of Nate Saint, in the Curaray River in 1970.
Komi: Dayuma’s husband. Rachel Saint took him to Berlin, German, in 1966 for a Billy Graham evangelistic conference.
McCully, Jr., T. Edward “Ed”: Wheaton College 1949 graduate, Plymouth Brethren missionary with Christian Missions in Many Lands, one of the five killed in Ecuador.
Mincaye Enquedi: One of the six Waorani men who took part in the attack at Palm Beach. He later became a Christian, an elder in the church, and gave his testimony at Amsterdam 2000.
Mintake: One of three Waorani who visited the missionaries on Palm Beach.
Nenkiwi: Nicknamed “George” was one of the three visitors with the missionaries on Palm Beach.
Marj Saint: Widow of Nate Saint who later married Abe Van Der Puy.
Saint, Nathanael “Nate”: Wheaton College 1950 graduate, missionary pilot with Mission Aviation Fellowship, one of the five killed in Ecuador.
Saint, Rachel: Sister of Nate Saint and missionary with Wycliffe Bible Translators to the Waoranis.
Tementa: Son of Nenkiwi and elder in the Waorani church who gave his testimony at Amsterdam 2000.
Tidmarsh, Dr. Wilfred: Veteran English missionary to Ecuador, one of the first to enter Waorani territory and first to compile an Waorani word list.
Van Der Puy, Abe: Missionary to Ecuador and HCJB field director, married Marj Saint, widow of Nate.
Youderian, Roger: Missionary with Gospel Missionary Union, one of the five killed in Ecuador.
- Back Home Hour (Radio program)
- Christian martyrs.
- Dayuma (Auca Indian)
- Edman, V. Raymond (Victor Raymond), 1900-1967.
- Elliot, Elisabeth.
- Elliot, Jim, 1927-1956.
- Evangelistic work -- Ecuador.
- Evangelistic work -- South America.
- Evangelistic work.
- Fleming, Peter, 1928-1956.
- HCJB (Radio station : Quito, Ecuador)
- Huao (Language)
- Huao Indians.
- Jones, Clarence W.
- McCully, Theodore Edward, 1927-1956.
- Mission Aviation Fellowship.
- Missions -- Ecuador.
- Missions -- South America.
- Saint, Nathaniel, 1923-1956.
- Saint, Rachel.
- Tidmarsh, Wilfred G.
- Van Der Puy, Abe C.
- Youderian, Roger,
- Collection 599 Ephemera of the "Auca" Incident
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