Politics, Business & Culture in the Americas

A View to Our Land



The phrase “Taiñ Azkintun” in the Mapudungun language of the Mapuche people of Chile translates into English as “our view.” It is also the name of an innovative arts training program, launched in 2010, to teach young indigenous Chileans—who constitute 4 percent of the national population—how to capture their ideas and experiences on video.

The initiative is designed to help Chile’s native youth affirm their voice in the national fabric. It is funded with a $20,000 grant from the Canadian government, along with support from local universities, and is overseen by indigenous rights watchdog Observatorio Ciudadano and the Mapuche publication Azkintuwe. Through the free program, 20 students are trained in audiovisual tools, scriptwriting, interview techniques, and editing-—skills students need to produce independent work that can be heard and seen.

“Chilean society needs to develop an intercultural dialogue,” says Paulina Acevedo, Observatorio Ciudadano’s communications director. “We should recognize we’re a country with indigenous nations as well as descendants of immigrants.”

Films now in post-production cover topics like foreign investment; social and environmental conflicts; ethno-tourism projects; language revival; and Mapuche perspectives on women’s role in society. One student group is even looking into funding for a video news project to report on indigenous rights issues.

Their projects were presented on December 10—International Human Rights Day. Organizers hope the presentation will help them continue the project with Chilean government funds and support from private foundations. If successful, they want to launch the project in Santiago to work with students from other indigenous groups, like the Aymara of the Andes and the Polynesian Rapa Nui people of Easter Island.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Matthew Aho is a consultant in the corporate practice group at Akerman LLP.

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