Radio Kurruf — Transmission of Mapuche knowledge and skills in children as a local strategy in the face of the climate crisis

Under the premise that the transmission of territorial Mapuche memory must be part of the process to restore balance and be able to face the impacts of climate change at the local level, the theatrical performance was one of the 4 pillars of the project. This and other transversal skills have been sought to promote in boys and girls from the Huitag School of the Panguipulli Commune with the project “Kom Pu Che Taiñ Newen: Girls, boys and the community, take care of biodiversity in the face of climate change” that was developed during the second semester by the technical and management team of the Koz Koz Mapuche Parliament together with the Panguipulli Model Forest.

“Today there is a process, a global crisis called the climate crisis. As Mapuche we know that for hundreds, thousands of years, we lived in these territories and our ancients, who are already dead, lived without major problems. There was water, there was land, there was forest. Life could be sustained and there was a balance. Today, with all the intervention and the arrival of many more people, all of that is changing, it is being overwhelmed many times,” says Beatriz Chocori Huenullanca, part of the executing team of the Koz Koz Mapuche Parliament. She also adds “how does that happen and we see what is happening here and also worldwide. The temperatures soar, the rains are scarce or when it rains, it rains a lot and that is not going to stop”.

This is a phenomenon that has already taken hold and the effects are being seen now, not in later decades as was once suggested. “Nature cannot be seen as a resource, it is the place that sustains us as inhabitants of this mapu” explains Chocori.

With this worrying scenario “we saw that it was necessary to be able to work with children. And this idea that started here in Huitag can later be replicated in other educational centers ”he says.

Learning by caring for the garden

From this perspective, the various workshops that took place this spring and early summer were carried out within the framework of a pedagogical perspective of mixing local Mapuche knowledge with scientific knowledge to generate learning for life in the new generations. Under this commitment, with the support of parents, teachers and local ancestral authorities, a garden was created under the Huerta Mapuche model that has both medicinal plants and vegetables. Each course within the multigrade school was in charge of planting and caring for a crop bed and for next year new training activities related to garden work are already envisioned, from basic statistics to understanding the environment through soil observation. insects or the structure of certain plants.

A challenge within the changing context of the rainfall cycle that climate change implies is the abundance or scarcity of rainfall, breaking the patterns and regularities that were previously known. To highlight this aspect and propose a solution is[b1] Two 1,200-liter tanks were installed that will drip-irrigate the orchard, recovering rainwater that is being collected by gutters that were installed in a building adjacent to the orchard and connected to these ponds. This system is called “rainwater harvesting” and it will be used certain months, while in other seasons the ponds will be recharged with the regular water supply circuit in rural areas.

Marta Huenchuanca participated in some of the activities and what she rescues from the experience that her third grade son Eduardo tells her is that “What she liked the most is how the platabandas are made.” She has a garden at her house, but the fact that this is reinforced at school allows them “now to have many more things like taking care of the environment.” In addition, the attorney and neighbor of the sector states that “this helped the boys a lot because of the climate change that we are experiencing now.”

Marta Rain, the grandmother of Javiera Jesús Huenul Marifil in sixth grade, also appreciates that the school is working together on a small garden. She has grown food since she was a child and after returning from working outside the territory for a few years, she took up the job that her mother never stopped doing. Now she maintains the greenhouse so that when her children work outside it, they can continue to enjoy the tasty broad beans, peas, beans, corn, and squash. “We plant what we can, to be able to have at least half the year products”

Carolina Chihuaipan, manager of the Huitag School, whose daughter is in third grade and comments that although her daughter has been well involved in things in the countryside since she was little, she appreciates that she can participate in a garden at the school “because the It helps children a lot so that from a very young age they grow up with this idea that the earth gives us. And that they know everything about how to work it”

In fact, things are no longer the same

Observation has been the central tool of the Mapuche people to draw conclusions from the flows and changes that everything alive with which it interacts has. This knowledge has been passed down between generations for a long time. This cultural strength will be reinforced with the lessons that can be learned from a small-scale weather station that was installed so that the boys and girls themselves can work to quantify and record the hottest or coldest days, among other parameters of the study. of weather. These data recorded by the device locally are transmitted to a computer that stores the information so that it can be analyzed later.

“I understand it and the children are also worried about it, luckily this year it didn’t come so dry, but later on I don’t know how we’re going to continue,” says the papay Marta Rain. In addition to the data collection exercises from the meteorological station to reinforce the observations, it is necessary to change certain habits typical of life in the countryside, such as the constant use of the wood stove without reforesting “I tell my children: if we go to flip a stick for firewood, we have to replant 1 or 2 so that one day the grandchildren, the great-grandchildren, can grow the family and there is for them, so that they continue. I love the wood stove and the children. And here in the field that is easier. Firewood is essential for heating, a little stove. I tell you that: let’s think about things before acting, because there are people who continue turning the native thing around and selling and selling. Then what happens? What are we going to consume? The children will be the ones who will follow later”.

learning outdoors

Another of the causes as well as the consequences of climate change is the loss of biodiversity. For this reason, in the month of August a reforestation was carried out associated with a small estuary that runs along the back of the Huitag school property. Month after month, an educational trail was implemented with posters at the main points of interest to listen, observe or smell what is happening in this recovering forest. Over the years this space will grow not only because the ulmos, hualles or calafates will grow, but the pedagogical instances that can be developed outdoors will multiply. Proof of this was what happened on November 29 where the same students were the ones who gave the guide to transmit to their peers from the Rural Schools of El Manzano, Panguilelfun, Pitren, Cayumapu and Milleuco certain aspects of the path of a regenerating forest. . This visit took place in the context of the Third Intercultural Meeting of Rural Schools for the protection and conservation of Itxofill Mongen, where the wetland that exists in the area was also visited.

This Reforestation associated with a body of water, states Héctor Alonso Pichun of the Panguipulli Model Forest, is part of “a search to create an educational space in the open air where school children can explore and generate certain learning. In addition, it is a proposal for visits by other educational establishments”

Carolina Chihuaipan, manager of the rural school remembers the planting in August where there was a lot of rain when we went to reforest “we got very wet, but it was worth it. It was a beautiful moment that was made with the children and with the parents”.

Transversal learning

To generate local strategies against climate change, the new generations in a particular territory such as Panguipulli must promote transversal skills. In this sense, it is valuable not only to develop communication skills or knowledge of ecology, but also to awaken the local Mapuche memory of that moment of well-being (kume felen) prior to the dispossession. Coinciding with the graduation of the sixth grade and the closing of the school year, last Tuesday, December 13, the presentation of a play developed by the boys and girls (pu pichikeche) together with the kimelfe took place at the Huitag School. (educator) Jorge Weke Catriquir.

In this regard, Weke maintains “we must recover the memory of the territory for that care, way of life and knowledge”. In this search, theater is a tool for strengthening, transferring knowledge and developing the leadership that boys and girls must have in this process of change. “After the resistance, there is a people who can think about their future. A town that is based on a harmonic projection” states Weke.

“Reinforce both ancient knowledge and current knowledge and get the best out of that so that our children in the future have that awareness of care, of protection, of knowing that what I do, how I grow, what I sow or how I use my space it will have an impact and it will have a direct impact on the place where I live” adds Beatriz Chocori.

Thus the execution of the first year of this initiative ends, which is already looking for alternatives to continue supporting and expanding this process in the next school year that begins in March. For now, the first evaluations and aspirations are settled after finishing this first impulse “what the children have done here will remain in their minds and their memory and probably when they grow up they will reaffirm that. That is why for us it is very significant to be here on this mapu and to have been part of that process. This is something that is built together.”

This initiative is financed by the Regional Government of Los Ríos (GORE) by subsidizing activities of Environmental Protection and Environmental Education to non-profit entities.

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Radio Kurruf — Transmission of Mapuche knowledge and skills in children as a local strategy in the face of the climate crisis