UNESCO’s Mucho Chile Campaign

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The UN recently launched Mucho Chile Pueblos Originarios (Indigenous Peoples), an initiative to promote awareness about Chile’s varied indigenous cultures. Much of the country is comprised of European descendants, but not everyone is aware that several different indigenous groups occupied this geographical territory before the Spaniards arrived, and still live here today. Many, but not all, were under the control of the Inca Empire at the time Ferdinand Magellan found the eponymous Strait, a handy shipping route through the southern cone. Today nine remaining groups are recognized as descendants of these long established sedentary and nomadic tribal units. Some still follow a so-called “traditional” way of life, while others have fully integrated themselves into the urban mainstream or straddle between the two. The groups include the Aymara, Quechua, Diaguita, Colla, Mapuche, Rapa Nui, Kawésqar and Atacameña people as well as the nearly extinct Yagán. The aim of Mucho Chile is to inform people about the diversity of food, arts & crafts, rituals, spirituality, literature, festivals, traditions and the varied ways they have contributed to creating the national identity. For more info on the campaign you can go to this link in Spanish: http://muchochile.cl.

Restroom sign in Mapudungun, the language of the Mapuche. Photo taken in south-central Chile near Temuco.

An expo of the Mucho Chile photo contest winners “De dónde viene uno?” (Where do we come from?) depicting indigenous Chilean families is on display at the Casas de lo Matta on Av. Kennedy 9350 in Vitacura through December 19th. More in-depth notes on the individual ethnicities are coming soon!

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