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A Mapuche evening at Siida on Wednesday 14 March 2012

Mar 09, 2012 10:13 AM

Welcome to Siida to learn more about the life of the biggest indigenous population of Chile. Sirpa Kerman, the Executive Director of a Finnish child welfare association Parasta Lapsille ry, will tell about the conditions and everyday life of the Mapuche, an indigenous people in Chile. In 2007, 2008 and 2011, Kerman visited the area in which the association runs a campaign called “Help a Mapuche Child”.

Parasta Lapsille ry has worked in Chile for 30 years, helping – through Finnish sponsors – make it possible for children to go to school. From the year 2007 on, the aid has been directed at the Mapuche children of the county Tirua. The work is supported by the Foreign Ministry of Finland, but individual citizens, too, contribute through sponsoring children.

The Mapuche Evening is connected with the following exhibitions at Siida:  “Mapuche – The Seeds of Chile” and the photography exhibition “South of Biobío” by Adolfo Vera.

The Mapuche are an indigenous people of approximately one million members in Southern Chile and Argentine. The name “Mapuche” comes from the words mapu (earth) and che (people). The Mapuche have their own language, Mapudungun, which has no official status. The Mapuche want to be recognized as a people and, thus, get their rights included in the constitution. They also want back their ancient lands and waters in order to manage them with respect for Nature. In addition, they want to participate in the development of society and to have their voice heard. At present, the Mapuche are struggling with both national and multinational companies. The struggle has led to serious confrontations and conflicts. Many Mapuche activists have got long prison sentences pursuant to a law on terrorism that was passed during the Pinochet Regime.

The Mapuche Evening is free for everyone, and it is arranged by the Sámi Museum Siida.

Further information: Sari Valkonen, Cultural Interpreter, +358 40 767 1052

Siida - Sámi Museum and Nature Centre, Inarintie 46, FI-99870 Inari, tel. +358 (0)400 898 212, www.siida.fi, siida@samimuseum.fi, siida@metsa.fi

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Sámi Museum
Phone +358 (0)400 898 212

Nature Centre, Metsähallitus
Phone +358 (0)206 39 7740