October 31, 2011

Summer school for Mapuche Children and Ancestral Authorities

As part of the ongoing project to teach the Mapuche language and culture to the next generation, another summer school was held in October in Temuco, Chile.

The school brings together children and the elder who have the opportunity to learn and discuss topics of daily relevance, especially those related to the environment and the importance of protecting nature within the Mapuche culture.

Topics included: “Dialogue with ancestral authorities”, “Keeping the environmental balance in the Mapuche world” and “Coexistence in the Mapuche world”.

Ancestral authorities such as Lonko, Machi, Ngenpin, Werken, and children between 8 and 12 years old participate in a two-day cultural encounter which allows them to have a first-hand experience with regards to the way Mapuche values and traditions deal with today's most important environmental issues. The event starts with an opening ceremony and a range of sociocultural activities, including spiritual ceremonies such as the “Llellipun”, followed by a thorough yet simple explanation of the purpose and meaning of such ceremonies and the relevant role they play in preserving one's culture. Instructors will also be in charge of workshops where art and other forms of cultural expression are explored. The last activity concludes with a public presentation where the families of the participants join to experience first-hand what the children learned during the course. A special closing ceremony is led by the ancestral authorities.