Monday, 12 March 2012

Chilean Indigenous Peoples have a say – will they be listening to?

A few weeks back there was a ‘celebration day’ that was launched by UNESCO since 2000: February 21st “International Mother Language Day.” The purpose is to promote native languages around the globe and Chile took this day to promote not only their own indigenous languages but also their cultures. Accordingly, Chile celebrated the day by marches and public statements.

In Santiago, Chile, there is an organization dedicated to Indigenous languages: Red por los Derechos Educativos y Lingüísticos de los Pueblos Indígenas de Chile (Red EIB). On the date, they released a public statement “summarizing the current state of Indigenous languages in the country and calling on the government to take concrete steps to preserve those same languages. Red EIB indicated that Chile originally had eight spoken Indigenous languages, but now numbers have dropped to four, and none of those four languages are spoken by more than one-third of their respective populations.”

RED suggests the following:

· the national curriculum should reinstate the Indigenous education units that used to be found in history, geography and social science classes;

· strengthening Indigenous language rights under Chilean law, which might include the creation of a “National Institute on Indigenous Languages”; and

· intercultural education throughout the country.

Another event took place in the Araucanía Region of Chile, where the community requested the government to make Mapuzungun (the language of the Mapuche people, and the most-spoken language in Chile outside of Spanish) to be along with Spanish an official language. In other Chilean Regions there were also requests made to local government leaders to add the names of certain landmarks in Mapuzungun.

Source Indigenous News.

No comments :