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University of Washington - Seattle Campus

Publication Date

Spring 2007

Program Name

Argentina: Social Movements and Human Rights


As many native populations face cultural extinction, the question of indigenous land rights is a discussion of growing urgency and polarity. The Mapuche Pueblo, a population native to Chile and the south of Argentina, is an example of such a population battling to regain control of their original territories so as to insure the survival of their culture. The research of this study consisted of a two-week cultural investigation of the Mapuche communities in the south of Argentina so as to understand this collective cultural identity. The paper itself examines the life cycle of the social movement to recuperate these native territories in light of collective identity theory. Moreover, explores the creation and maintenance of the Mapuche collective identity with respect to their history and culture. What is ultimately deduced is that, due to nature of the Mapuche culture and religion, it would be impossible for them to sustain their cultural identity without land. Thus, without the reinstatement of at the least parts of their native territory the Mapuche culture, with the eventual decline of their movement, will cease to exist in a significant way.


Anthropology | Place and Environment | Social and Cultural Anthropology


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