Indigenous peoples ask Chilean government to officially recognize their languages

NEWS IN BRIEF. Representatives of Network EIB say that indigenous languages and cultures should be introduced into the school curricula

Representatives of the eight indigenous peoples of Chile have asked for the official recognition of Quechua, Aymara, Mapudungun, Rapa Nui, Kawescar, Yagan and Selknam (the eighth one, Kunza, is already extinct) through a new Law on linguistic rights. The indigenous representatives, organized through the Network EIB, said on Tuesday that all those languages are endangered (Mapudungun, Quechua, Aymara and Rapa Nui) or critically endangered (Kawescar, Yagan and Selknam) and asked the Chilean president Sebastián Piñera to start a process aimed at the "recovery and preservation" of those languages.

The representatives of Network EIB consider that the indigenous peoples' cultures and languages should be integrated into Chilean school curricula, not only for indigenous children but also for pupils of European descent. This, they argue, would help in advancing towards a greater respect of the Chilean society for the indigenous peoples.

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