Santiago de Chile, travel guide
This trip starts searching for spaces where our original towns are still alive. This article contains the outline of our route, that joins the points where the cultural expressions Mapuche getting alive on the front of the eyes of tourist and national travelers. Until that places I want to guide the steps of the readers, who motivated like me, for values and ancestral traditions, follow the examples of this amazing culture that fight for keep alive, in a route for connect the real time whit the old Mapuche traditions.
“Every culture has traits that come from others. It is always mixed and in constant transformation”
As a result of the idea of multiculturalism in the big cities, it is important to consider that since few years, Santiago has undergone a process of transculturation, received more people, and especially from other countries. We must then observe with detachment how our society adapts to the mix of traditions and how it advances to the integration of all who conform it.
Pre-Columbian Art Museum,
Bandera 361, Santiago
From the Museum of Pre-Columbian art, a journey begins which will take us through the expressions of the Mapuche culture through visuality, and from this initial idea to deepen their traditions and share knowledge about many areas that culture Comprises.
The museum was born in 1981 as a collection and exhibition of materialities related to pre-Columbian art throughout America. This has allowed its visitors to get closer to the roots of Chile and present-day America, and to differentiate their worldviews and cultural expressions through visual art.
Here, the treasures of our native peoples are protected, both from the national territory and from the Andean cultures, including the Inka.
This exhibition has sown in us a deep desire to explore in depth how the people and communities mainly Mapuche, who refuse to disappear and with whom we will soon meet, live in our time.
Mahuidache Ceremonial Park,
Av. Julio Covarrubias 10365, El Bosque
In the commune of El Bosque, sitting around the fireplace inside the main Ruka, Juan Carlos, the kimeltuchefe, imparts the knowledge to all who form the group of apprentices of the mapudungun. The meeting was cordial, however when we had to introduce ourselves and I mentioned my intention to know the indigenous roots of Chile, I went immediately, but at the same time, kindly, corrected. The only possible denomination to refer to its culture is that of “people”; Not ethnic, are not Indians or Indians as they are and we are accustomed to listen, this shows that they seek to remove that pejorative and inferiority vision that they have been faced as a people for centuries.
It is moving to see the chanted stories that speak of Mapuche hospitality, proven by sharing a “stone mate and sopaipillas” as a characteristic element of their culture, and which generates an atmosphere of warmth and group cohesion.
This space was created to give a physical place to the Petu Mogelein community and to help strengthen cultural identity, which at the same time brings the Mapuche culture closer to the inhabitants of the commune. It was born as an initiative of the national corporation of indigenous development CONADI in the year 2006, that contemplated a joint work between the Mapuche communities residing in Santiago, the municipality of El Bosque and the Government of Chile, through the program “Truth and New Deal”.
The head of the Petu Mogelein community is a Lonko, and her name is Norma Hueche. His person has represented several things in the process of knowledge of the community, because his closeness and kindness allowed us to arrive and share, even receive the Mapuche teachings. She has the most important role in a community, which is the political unit of the Mapuche people, and with a significant weight in decision-making. This also tells us about the importance of women in all areas, whether political-administrative, family, or medical and religious ceremonies as we will see later, unlike many peoples and cultures where the female figure has been relegated to the background.
Mapuche Health Center “Epu Mapu Lawen”,
Av. Violeta Parra 7245, Cerro Navia
After meeting the Petu Mogelein community, we moved to Cerro Navia. Here we can realize how the people of this commune and even neighboring communes prefer to go to this center, misnamed “alternative medicine”, for health treatments based on the knowledge of the ancient inhabitants of our land. Fundamentally, these are based on master plants, use of herbs, food and the energy of the connection with the Pachamama.
The main figure in this and other similar centers is the Machi. She (or he) represents knowledge of energy (Newen), which has strong spiritual components, connection with the earth and its benefits.
It is not the only one that exists in the city, there are even in addition to health centers, pharmacies whose products have been created by Machis knowledgeable about the properties of plants and infusions.
We Tripantu, Mahuidache Ceremonial Park,
Av. Julio Covarrubias 10365, El Bosque
Where we start, we end. On the date indicated, in the Mahuidache ceremonial park, the Wiñol Tripantu was held.
On this day there is a natural change in the environment, expression of nature, commonly called “Mapuche New Year”. And it is indeed so, is the beginning of the new cycle that incorporates all the natural forces.
. We participate of her, although like mere spectators. In reality we have to have an idea of what it means to be part of the ceremonial, we were received, but from afar we could appreciate the energy that is generated, which has left us important reflections and was the culmination of our journey.
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When we think that native peoples have struggled over the years to keep their presence alive, it is worth reflecting on why it has not been the state of Chile that is interested in rescuing and promoting the diffusion of the culture of our native peoples throughout All national territory If we look at the relationship between native peoples and states, it seems that intransigence has always overcome tolerance, and efforts to achieve harmonious coexistence have not been enough.
However, in recent years, we can not ignore the fact that the state has tried to support projects that seek to reproduce and show the culture of our Araucanian ancestors in the Metropolitan region, including the creation of the Mahuidache ceremonial park among other parks in Santiago; plans of support in education and entrepreneurship to projects of gastronomy and handicraft mainly of families or individual initiatives, even, progress towards the recognition and formalization of the mapuzungún language.
The role of historians is essential in this regard, to ensure that the colors of the Mapuche flag are not extinguished; And instead of telling about its past history, let us help to promote and spread the importance of the Mapuche culture until it becomes a fundamental part of it as someday by all those living on its ground, which we now call Chile, and which is Our own ground.