Journal of Intercultural Communication, issue 16, April 2008

Hilda Llanqinao Trabol, Olga Rebolledo Piña & Claudio Briceño Olivera

Traditional Mapuche education. Contribution for an Intercultural Education (1)


The intercultural education is presented as an initiative of our society to incorporate ethnic groups in the vision of the world, which is constructed through education. Unfortunately, the main contribution that the ancestral cultures make to the curriculum is based on some idiomatic aspects and cultural manifestations (rites and ceremonies). According to our point of view, this vision is rather restricted, because it ignores or does not know the ways of traditional education of ethnic groups. This assay shows, in a summarized way, the experience of the Mapuche people in their way of developing the teaching–learning process, which is explicitly based on the communication form that was established among the family members. It is necessary to emphasize that three methods were used, and they were based on oral communication (pentukum, nütram and gülam), these not only allowed the internalization of the contents, but also their evaluation. Another important element is constituted by three central subject areas of the Mapuche education: social, nature and divinity relationship and how each one of them become, in practice, communication forms with superior entities. In this way, it is constituted the general training system and education in Mapuche culture, which is able to evaluate coherent subjects and content connection, to constitute a real contribution to formal education of any country or culture, which must be understood as the modification of primary education’s curriculum.


Keywords: Intercultural communication, Mapuche culture, Education

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