Home Institution

Claremont Mckenna College

Publication Date

Fall 2012

Program Name

Chile: Cultural Identity, Social Justice, and Community Development


This investigation explores the lived experience of youth of indigenous Aymara ancestry migrating to the north of Chile from its Andean border countries, specifically that of four Bolivian grade school students living in the pueblo of Putre. My central objective in this project was to understand their experience and contribute to a safe space of conversation that strengthens the development and expression of their identity. I aimed to create this open, collaborative space so that they could take a step back from their current situation in which they have had to reconstruct their identities, and holistically consider their realization of the migration process. I use this paper as a medium to give life to their narratives. This paper demonstrates my interpretation of what these four people shared with me in addition to what I observed through my fieldwork in Putre. I was limited in the lens through which I realized this interpretation because I only sought out the perspective of one type of informant. Therefore, my project is only an entrance into my central problem. However, the specific point of view of my informants was the perspective that I was most interested in from the start of the research process. At its core, this project is not about statistics, politics, or the point of view of the greater Chilean society. It is about giving a narrative, qualitative, unbiased look into the lived experience of these migrants. The light and powerful voice I found within these brave young individuals transformed this investigation into a collective, organic experience of anthropological value between the researcher and informants. In this paper, I offer a glimpse into the lives of migrants that are not extremely visible in current discourse and a space for their identity development and expression. With the style in which I have written this paper, I believe that their powerful words in many ways speak for themselves.


Anthropology | Community-Based Research | Demography, Population, and Ecology | Family, Life Course, and Society | Inequality and Stratification | Latin American Studies | Social and Cultural Anthropology


Article Location