Demonstrators demand official status for Mapudungun in Araucanía region

Mapuche movement insists Chilean authorities have given green light to language recognition

The demonstration in Temuco.
The demonstration in Temuco. Author: Mapuexpress
1,500 to 2,000 people demonstrated Friday 19th in Temuco demanding an official status for Mapudungun, the language of the Mapuche people, in Chile's Araucanía region. The march was held after a popular race in support for the indigenous language.

The demonstration had been called by the Movement for Mapudungun Official Status, which brings together several Mapuche organizations and parties. The march was also supported by the Association of Municipalities with Mapuche Mayors (Amcam).

Protesters recalled that the Comptroller General of Chile -a public body acting as a government's auditor- ruled on 13th November 2015 that the Araucanía regional government was rightfully able to pass "a regulation for the recognition of Mapudungun an official language" in the region as long as this status did not pose a limitation on the use of the Spanish language.

Araucanía's top political authority, intendant Andrés Jouannet, said he supports official status for Mapudungun. But some sectors of the Mapuche movement believe Jouannet is in fact slowing the recognition process, and demanded his resignation. Jouannet said that the whole issue was slower than expected because he wants to launch a consultation process with indigenous communities.