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Sewanee University of the South

Publication Date

Fall 2015

Program Name

Chile: Cultural Identity, Social Justice, and Community Development


Afrochileans have been in the dark for several centuries due to the efforts of the Chilean government to completely ignore the existence of people of color in the country. Since the beginning of the 21st century cultural and political organizations of afrochileans have been created to fight against the invisibility of the black community in Chile, aiming to be recognized as a tribal group by the state. In this study, I researched the historical and cultural factors that influence the recognition of the afrochileans as a tribal group according to El Convenio 169 of the International Labor Organization. To accomplish this investigation I based my research on three specific themes. First was to determine the historical background that has influenced the process of the afochilean movement in Chile but more specifically in the city of Arica. Then I examined the relationship between the State and the political and cultural organizations of afrochilean and lastly, I determined the political and cultural framework of the organizations for their demands against the government. In order to collect the data I moved to the city of Arica in the north of the country, since there is where there is a stronger presence of afrochileans and is also where the social movement started. I interviewed three of the most influential and known political leaders of the afrochielan movement in Arica who have been involved in promoting and creating public policies that will favor the afrochilean community in the education, health and political areas. In addition, I had the opportunity to engage and take part in several activities, such as cultural demonstrations and meetings with representatives of The Chilean Ministry of Culture and Development. The process of reparation has been difficult due to the lack of attention by the government, even though there has been support from several representatives who stand alongside the afrochileans. The main demands include the category of afrodescendiente in the 2017 census, constitutional recognition, and the application of el Convenio 169 that would give afrochileans justification for their demand of recognition. It’s necessary to point out that Chile is a very centralized country that continues to believe in the European model that was instilled in the society during colonial times, and even with progress that has been made by the afrochilean organizations it’s going to take the effort of not only the afro community but also of the indigenous groups to bring the government to recognize its multiculturalism and from there push for the recognition of every cultural group that exist in the country.


Family, Life Course, and Society | Inequality and Stratification | Latin American Studies | Public Affairs, Public Policy and Public Administration | Race and Ethnicity