Original source: Portal PatrimonioThe rich diversity of landscapes and climes supported thousands of indigenous people in dozens of distinct civilizations before the Spanish arrived on Chile’s shores, from the Aymara in the north to the Mapuche in the south and the Rapa Nui Polynesians on Easter Island, far to the west.
A new range of “community-based tourism” offerings lets the curious traveler share the experience of daily life in indigenous communities of Aymara, Mapuche and Pehuenche throughout Chile, but even for the casual traveler, there’s one new resource you shouldn’t miss checking out before your visit.
The National Arts and Culture Council has published three fascinating cultural guides for Chile’s major indigenous groups: the Aymara, the Mapuche and the Rapa Nui.
Each guide is published in Spanish, English and the original language of the respective group, available in a free download here.
The Guide to Intercultural Dialogue for Indigenous Tourism was created “to contribute to the exchange that develops between visitors and hosts, when the chosen travel destination involves a contact between human beings who come from very different worldviews,” according to the introduction in each booklet.
Indeed, it is precisely the difference in worldviews that often make these cultures so fascinating to visitors from abroad, and each guide contains information about the respective histories, cosmologies, beliefs and folklore of these three different groups.
Visitors to the north will be unsurprised to learn that the Aymara developed a complex understanding of astronomy and cosmology – with such a brilliant stage for the night sky, it seems only natural that the indigenous people of the northern altiplano were skilled astronomers. The cultural guide offers a fascinating snapshot of Aymara worldview and a brief outline of the Aymara creation story, when the sun “burst into a world of darkness.”
Guides also outline the traditional clothing, cuisine, music, architecture and arts of the Aymara, Mapuche and Rapa Nui. In the long run, the guides aim to serve both the visitor and the host in a cultural tourism exchange, by “focusing on self-management and the custody of shared values, in the hands of the communities themselves and their families.”