Saving Money and Culture in Mapuche Lands

Saving Money and Culture in Mapuche Lands

The title has a missionary undertone, but only if you interpret it in the conventional way. Indigenous Peoples as being “pre-modern groups” has been an engrained idea through which the industrial West has seen itself reflected as advanced. Nature-dependent, local, communitarian, are often mirrors for “advanced” societies to think of themselves as unattached from nature, cosmopolitan, individualistic.

Globalization is changing our lives in multiple ways, sometimes quietly, and sometimes dramatically -provoking radical changes in the way we see our relations to past and future; culture and land, place and planet.

Just to recap, In 2011, Mapuche leaders stressed to MAPLE Microdevelopment their need for assistance to create much needed self-managed financial services institutions that could enhance their control over their own assets and asset-building processes. MAPLE accepted the invitation by the indigenous Mapuche organization located in the Lake Budi region in Southern Chile. A team was formed in 2012 and field work begun June 2013 to initiate the preparatory phase of the project, which will last 6 months.

Nadia and Fresia, two Mapuche women- one, a manager of the community’s ecotourism, and the other a practitioner at the local Mapuche-managed school and community-based communication project- are both new members of our interdisciplinary team and ever more closer friends.

They have been in charge of unsettling not only our workplan, but perhaps the stereotyped ideas that brought us here in the first place, as we start seeing the community’s strengths and capacities for self-governance and self-sustainability through their eyes. Standing at the crossroads of globalization, our team of four (the cosmological number of creation and continuity for the Mapuche) is modeling ways to counteract the negative forces, and size the hope of a global world that fits many worlds.

The Mapuche don’t need anybody to “save” them: despite decades of marginalization and neo-colonialism –often fuelled by well-intentioned stereotyping- they are already building their own capacities for appropriating technologies (including microfinance), govern their own resources and priorities, and through offering new models for economic and socio-environmental self-governance, save OUR “advanced” societies by infusing them with a culture of coexistence and shared responsibility.

A community strengthening-driven school,  a self-regulated Ecotourism Committee, and the revitalization of the Ruka (Mapuche longhouse) and its age-old sustainability principles at work once again, have become models and sources of inspiration to answer: How can the community strengthen itself through a self-managed financial institution that is self-sustainable over time. We hope to keep you updated on how this model to save money and culture evolves at the crossroads of globalization.



MAPLE Microdevelopment is a 501 ( c ) 3 based in Oregon that brings together rural communities in Uganda and now in Chile, with practitioners and students worldwide to work for diversity and community participation as the basis for sustainable solutions. TAX ID 26-4010182

Reader Comments (2)

Saving money is only good if it's to make more money. Put your money to work so you can save more money

Sun, December 15, 2013 | confidencemagnet

Money has made man happy. Everybody wants to save money. Money and culture are the two things which each and every individual want to save . Every human being is a member of many cultures. Culture influences an individual’s health beliefs, practices, behaviors, and even the outcome of medical treatments. Because of this, health care providers must learn about culture. We must try to become culturally competent. And we should save it in our own. Money can be saved by making our annual expenses less etc. So, we should try to save money and culture.

Fri, January 24, 2014 | Gary Harris

SGs in TWO Minutes!

Epargner, ça s'apprend !

Epargner, ça s'apprend !