Fighting for the Right

Sitting with Miguel and his family inside the mud walls of a traditional Mapuche ruka in Araucania, Chile, we pass around mate tea, listen to stories of childhood from his grandfather (words shifting from Mapuche to Spanish and back again), and learn to play the kultrun (a traditional drum).

Between lyrics, Miguel translates for us a song that celebrates the Mapuche connection to the land, one of the main principles of a people whose very name translates to Land People. The Mapuche’s struggle to preserve the indigenous land to which they are connected threatens their language, their traditions, and their culture. Miguel’s family, it is clear, is resolute in keeping traditions alive.

In rural areas, we meet more people who are fighting for the right to practice one’s own culture – people like Daniella Lopez in the small Mapuche indigenous community of Kuramahuida. The only female community leader in this zone, she is young, she is courageous, and despite the challenges presented by the dominant culture and the government, Daniella is challenging status quos, defying biases, and leading her community in their fight for land rights in an effort to preserve the Mapuche language, traditions, and culture — to realize the right to preserve the Mapuche way

Blog In The Field Travel Stories Chile Indigenous Peoples