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Kuykuitin means "building bridges" in the Mapuche language. Our project’s name is due to the fact that it connects two groups in Chilean society that are perceived as opposite. These two groups are the Mapuche communities of Southern Chile and the most privileged social classes in the capital in Santiago. Both worlds perceive each other as distant and opposite based on the inaccurate idea that each one has of the other. Kuykuitin seeks to build a bridge between the two groups connecting them in person, to allow each group to develop an idea of the "other" closer to reality.

In practical terms, Kuykuitin selects history teachers from wealthy schools in Santiago and invites them to live together for a week in Mapuche communities in Tirúa, in Southern Chile, where they are received by the educational community of those territories. The teachers of Santiago stay in the homes of the indigenous students and teachers of the Tirua schools. During that week they participate in educational activities of intercultural exchange. The same process is carried out with Mapuche teachers who visit the schools of Santiago.

que es

How did it all start?

Testimonials of the organizers and participants.

Cristobal Madero


Daniel Cano


Marcela Salazar


¿Cómo inivió todo
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This is Primer agua

Who are the Mapuche?

The Mapuches are indigenous peoples from south-central Chile and Southwestern Argentina. The Mapuches maintained control of their lands during Spanish colonial rule. Throughout the 19th century, the Chilean elite tried to expand their territory and obtain natural resources south of the Biobío River in indigenous territory.

After a successful military campaign (1862-1883), the Chilean state incorporated around 12 thousand acres of Mapuche territory. These newly incorporated lands were awarded to private landowners and foreign settlers, leaving only 10% of the territory for the Mapuche people, equivalent to 1.2 thousand acres granted through “Deeds of Mercy” between 1884 and 1929, in the so-called indigenous settlement. This loss of land hit severely the Mapuches, subjecting them to a state of poverty and marginalization compared to the rest of the country and the region.

To learn more, advance to the next slide.

Primer Agua
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What did we know?

What did we expect?

Laura brown

Read her story >

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 “I think I imagined a very bilingual and bicultural community, where maybe I would listen to a lot of conversation in Mapuzugun and I would see in the daily life of the people, many cultural aspects different from those of other Chilean communities. In my mind, this would perhaps be a homogeneous community within its biculturalism, where everyone would share their Mapuche cultural heritage as part of their identity and daily life. "

Tanya nuñez

Read her story >

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"Before leaving for Tirúa, I was expectant. I had many ideas based on my experiences when meeting Mapuches, specially from vacation trips, nothing so real. I also remembered what my grandmother told me, who lived among them as a Chilean while she was a child. I felt like I knew them, but in an indirect way. Therefore, I hoped that this experience would show me the normal and real life they have, how they live with the Chileans, how they see the Mapuche conflict, but heard in the first person”.

Read her story >

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 “As a child I had approaches to Mapuche culture following my father's interest, so my connection with this world has an emotional background. In contrast to emotional memory, there is the “official history” about the Mapuche people, centered on conflicts and stereotypes. Still, I had no expectations of this experience, I just opened my mind and let my intuition do the rest."

Maria Isabel Salinas

Read their testimonial>

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"I thought I would meet a community that would be suspicious of our visit, due to the historical context in the relationship between Mapuches and Chileans."

Camila Cantillana
¿Qué sabíamos?

What happened there?

Move your mouse cursor and find out.

“It is incredible to be able to appreciate the tremendous conscience that the Mapuche taking care of the land and the sea. They consider them source of their food and labor, so they worry about taking care for it, which sounds logical but does not happen in all parts of the world, therefore they act as defenders of the environment.

I had the opportunity to share with a family who received us for 3 days. Luckily for us, we sang and played instruments with the head of the house who, in addition to being a diver and fisherman, he is also a craftsman of Mapuche instruments and a musician. He kindly showed us all the corners of his instrument workshop, showing how they sounded and of course telling every story related to their making.

Ignacio Rocco

"The families who hosted us not only opened the doors of their homes to us, but also of their customs and worldviews. They generously shared them with us and made us feel part of their inner circle. It is good to live these types of experiences to remove ill-founded prejudices ".

Camila Cantillana

“More than a pedagogical experience, this was an opportunity to experience the Mapuche’s worldview in-depth. Itrofil môgen and kûme môgen, my existence within environmental richness and good living, are two principles that I want to remain in my life. One of the most important learnings from my brief but profound trip to Tirúa is that nothing can be separated. Human existence, with its lights and shadows are part of a much larger and more organic whole that includes my happiness, that of others, and that of all living beings ".

Keka Urzua

qu paso alla

After the first visit, the Tirúa teachers had the opportunity to visit Santiago.

What did a Mapuche teacher experience in Santiago?


00:00 / 01:47


By clicking here.

Audio and text by Flor Huilita, pre-elementary teacher at Primer Agua school.

What did a Mapuche teacher experience in Santiago?


00:00 / 00:46


By clicking here.

Audio and text by Flor Huilita, pre-elementary teacher at Primer Agua school.

Lo quepasó en Santiago

What did they ask in Santiago?

Answers from Bedora Chañafil Huente, teacher of Basic Education with a mention in Interculturality at the Primer Agua school.

How did you become a teacher at Mapudungun?

How long does it take you to get from where you live to here (Santiago)?

00:00 / 00:19

Are you happy and honored to be Mapuche?

00:00 / 01:26

Do you like working at Primer Agua?

00:00 / 00:57

Has the mapudungun been lost?

What is the most important nien?

00:00 / 01:32

Could you tell us one of your traditions?

00:00 / 01:16

Do you have your own God or do you believe in the one we believe in?

00:00 / 00:09
que les dijeron
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Kuykuitin is possible thanks to the support of:

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