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January 2, 1914|
|Died||November 11, 1994
|Relatives||Nate Saint (brother)|
Rachel Saint was sent out by the Wycliffe Bible Translators, trained by Summer Institute of Linguistics (now SIL International). Her first missionary assignment was to the Piro and Shapra in Peru, but she had an interest in the Huaorani in Ecuador. In February 1955, she and Catherine Peeke went to a missionary station near Huorani territory, where Rachel Saint's brother was working. Rachel Saint started learning the Huaorani language with the help of Dayuma, a Huaorani woman who had left her people after a dispute and was sheltered by missionaries.
In January 1956, five missionaries in the area were killed by Huaorani people, including her brother Nate Saint, who had come to Ecuador in 1948. As a result, Rachel Saint considered herself spiritually bonded to the tribe. In 1957, she embarked on a tour of the United States together with Dayuma, appearing with Billy Graham at Madison Square Garden and on Ralph Edwards' television show This Is Your Life.
In the summer of 1958, Rachel Saint returned to the Huaorani in Ecuador and, together with Elisabeth Elliot, the wife of James (Jim) Elliot, who had been killed by the Huaorani, continued to evangelize. In February 1959, they were able to move into a Huaorani settlement. Where the five American men had failed to gain entrance into the Huaorani society, these two unarmed women (as well as Elliot's little daughter) were not perceived as a threat. Rachel continued in her labor to create a dictionary of the Huaorani language that she had begun before the death of the five missionaries.
When criticism of Rachel Saint's actions at the missionary reservation emerged, in 1973, SIL sent the anthropologist James Yost to investigate. Yost had worked for more than ten years amongst the Huaorani. His report was highly critical of Saint's work and, in 1976, SIL ordered her to retire. Rachel Saint decided to leave the SIL, but to continue her work with the Huaorani. Rachel Saint went back to the USA, raised funds and returned to Ecuador to work with the Huaorani.
She also appears in Joe Kane's book, Savages, in which she is criticized for the negative effects her proselytizing allegedly had on the lifestyle of those Huaorani who chose to live in her village.
- Trinkets and beads. Documentary, Ecuador/USA 1996, 52 minutes; Director: Chris Walker; Producer: Tony Avirgan. “Chris Walker and Tony Avirgan’s films tells the tragi-comic story of the unlikely links between Maxus – a Texas-based oil company – the 79-year-old Wycliffe Bible Translators missionary Rachel Saint, and the Huaorani people of the Ecuadorian Orient, the most fiercely isolated tribe in the Amazon. First introduced to the Indians by the missionaries, Maxus is guilty of poisoning Huaorani land with its drills and flares and leaking pipelines.”
- Anderson, Gerald H. (1998). Biographical Dictionary of Christian Missions. Grand Rapids / Cambridge: Wm. B. Eerdmans. ISBN 0-8028-4680-7.
- Cabodevilla, Miguel Angel (1994). Los Huaorani en la historia de los pueblos del oriente [The Huaoroni in the History of the peoples of the Orient] (in Spanish). Coca: CICAME.
- Goffin, Alvin M. (1994). The Rise of Protestant Evangelism in Ecuador, 1895–1990. Gainesville: University Press of Florida. ISBN 0-8130-1260-0.
- Howe, Robert W (2003). Tigres of the night: The true story of Juan and Amalia Arcos, naturalists and lay missionaries in the jungle of eastern Ecuador, 1922–2003. Xlibris. ISBN 1-4134-1503-2.
- Kimerling, Judith (1991). Amazon crude. Natural Resource Defense. ISBN 0-9609358-5-1.
- Kingsland, Rosemary (1980). A Saint among Savages. Collins. ISBN 0-00-216740-9.
- Rowell, Andrew (1996). Green Backlash: Global Subversion of the Environment Movement. London / New York: Routledge. ISBN 0-415-12827-7.
- Stoll, David. Fishers of men or founders of empire? The Wycliffe Bible Translators in Latin America. ISBN 1-57181-448-5.
- Stowell, Joseph M. (1998). Following Christ. Grand Rapids: Zondervan. ISBN 0-310-21934-5.
- Tucker, Ruth A. (2004). From Jerusalem to Irian Jaya: A Biographical History of Christian Missions. Grand Rapids: Zondervan. ISBN 0-310-23937-0.
- United States Congress, House Committee on International Relations, Subcommittee on International Operations (1977). Protection of Americans Abroad: Hearings Before the Subcommittee on International Operations. Washington: US Government Printing Office. ISBN 1-57181-448-5.
- Wallis, Ethel E. (1960). The Dayuma story: Life under Auca spears. New York: Harper.
- Yost, James A (1981). "Twenty years of contact: the mechanisms of change in Huao ("Auca") culture". In Whitten, Jr, Norman E. Cultural transformations and ethnicity in modern Ecuador. Champaigne-Urbana: University of Illinois Press.