November 16, 2016

Documentary Screening: Zuguleaiñ – We Will Speak – The Struggle to Revitalise the Mother Tongue of the Mapuche

On 16 November 2016 the Unrepresented Nations and Peoples Organization (UNPO), in cooperation with the Federación Mapuche de Estudiantes (FEMAE) and the Wvñelfe Foundation, will organise a screening of the documentary “Zuguleaiñ” (We Will Speak) at the European Parliament. The event, hosted by Izaskun Bilbao Barandica MEP (ALDE), aims to raise awareness for the cause of the Mapuche and their struggle to keep their endangered traditional language alive. The documentary centres around the first Mapuzungun language camp that was organized in Chile in 2015.

Mapuzungun is an indigenous language of South America, spoken by the Mapuche in Wallmapu, a territory today part of southern central Chile and Argentina. Recent studies revealed that Mapuzungun is increasingly endangered due to a number of factors, including migration to cities and massively reduced territory inhabited exclusively or mainly by the indigenous. Many young Mapuche are growing up in cities with little access to their ancestral mother tongue.

Reacting on this development, the Mapuche are looking for new ways to recover and strengthen Mapuzungun, inspired in part by the success of the revitalization of Euskara and other endangered languages in the world. A turning point was the first Mapuzungun language camp, which took place in 2015, and succeeded to significantly improve the language fluency of its participants.

The objective of Mapuzungun language camps is to create a learning space where knowledge of the language can be passed on through cultural immersion, with the desired result of generating more fluent speakers. In addition to revitalisation of the language, a goal is to create a better understanding among young Mapuche of the history and world view of their people. The documentary offers an insight into the organisation of language classes and other activities within the camp, as well as the ideas and views of young Mapuche. FEMAE and the Wvñelfe Foundation hope to raise funds in order to organise further camps and language revitalisation initiatives. A trailer of the documentary can be viewed here.

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