THE PARADOX BETWEEN CULTURE AND REALITY: THE CHALLENGE OF RAISING MAPUCHE BOYS AND GIRLS IN INDIGENOUS COMMUNITIES IN CHILE
LA PARADOJA ENTRE CULTURA Y REALIDAD: EL ESFUERZO DE CRIAR NIÑOS Y NIÑAS MAPUCHE EN COMUNIDADES INDÍGENAS DE CHILE
Ana M. Alarcón, Marcela Castro G., Paula Astudillo D. and Yolanda Nahuelcheo S.
35% of the population in the Araucanian region of Chile is Mapuche and lives mainly in rural areas. This paper focuses on the development of Mapuche indigenous children and how their families cope with raising them in a territory characterized by poverty and socio-political conflicts. It is an ethnographic study carried out in Mapuche rural communities (Temuco, Ercilla, Lumaco, Collipulli). Sixty people participated by sharing their experiences through in-depth interviews. The results showed that raising and protecting children is a social and cultural endeavor for the entire community. This is a critical task due to historical political and social constraints. Their culture, history and language strengthen their Mapuche identity and resistance to colonialism. Mapuche families face the paradox of teaching Mapuche culture within an environment of hostility and Chilean ethnocentrism.