The Mapuche Open Air University is an autonomous Mapuche educational institution that seeks to reconstruct, promote, and design ancient knowledge and wisdom in a learning environment open to anyone whose purpose is to search for coexistence in the human environment and therefore to all life in the territory that we have to share.
The project requires six years for its establishment, with ongoing operations in perpetuity.
Mapuche culture is the result of development over millenia, deeply rooted in the territory, of incaculable philosophical, cultural and practical value. With deep pride, the Mapuche Open Air University project will focus on the rescue of cultural treasures and values of this people, which have been often unknown or ignored, resulting in a huge misunderstanding from a Western cultural perspective.
One of the elements of the Mapuche culture most in need of rescue is related to the values, customs and knowledge that are based on a principle of life in harmony with the cosmos, leading to a complex, comprehensive and holistic world, which only can be realized through the experience of contact with the elements of nature. Whether it is the loss of territory in the case of the Mapuche, or the tendency of urbanization, in the case of the general population, this type of link is not part of everyday life and requires spaces where this contact can be experienced personally in a special way.
Today you find yourselves in the Mapuche Open Air University website, where we invite you to be part of this project that is not only an initiative of Lonko Kilapang Mapuche Corporation, but exists in its own right, a project which brings together years of aspirations and dreams of many who are not longer with us, as well as very strongly converging aspirations of the present generation who want to establish their own space of Mapuche ancestral knowledge and share it with those who come through the years.
Teaching Mapuche Ancestral Knowledge
The Mapuche Open Air University, through courses, workshops, seminars and advising will deliver and teach to Mapuche and non-Mapuche people elements of our historical memory, world-view, philosophy, Mapudungun (Mapuche language), spirituality, environment, biodiversity, Mapuche health, arts and crafts and others, will provide advice to add value to practices that have been forgotten, such as lakutun (naming ceremony), mafün (Mapuche marriage ceremony), eluwün (Mapuche funeral), üyelchen and others, with special attention to transferring and repositioning the principles on which these are based. All activities have the aim of contributing to the gradual establishment of a new dialogue of respect that will enable our cultures, Mapuche and non-Mapuche, to coexist harmoniously today and in times to come for the benefit of future generations.
Incorporating the student in the Mapuche Open Air University
The student will be welcomed in a modern physical space, whose architecture is based on ancient designs, surrounded by nature; by kimeltuchen (transmitters of knowledge), elders, practitioners of philosophy, ancient knowledge, traditional artists and creators of traditional medicine, and people who live their everyday culture. The university will host native speakers of Mapudungun, which will be heard in each room.
From the very beginning, attendees will experience a trip back in time to the ancient world; will be received with greetings of the culture, with embraces, tools, changing from the first moment codes and standards to which they are used to. Attendees must perform daily tasks, which they dynamically reconstruct from day to day and that illustrate a way of life and vision of the cosmos. The activities follow the ancestral natural code: get up with the light of dawn, carry out activities around the pillankütral (sacred fire) and follow ancestral rituals as part of everyday life.
There will be formal learning spaces (classrooms), which however will be occupied mainly in rainy and cold conditions, and for specific purposes. However, the vast majority of learning will be outdoors.
Buildings and ritual spaces will arise from fundamental paths of Mapuche spatiality, and will be subtle in relation to nature. They will mark the passage of the sun, the beginning of the year with the Wetripantü (beginning of the a new cycle of nature). There will be meeting spaces around the fire, the water, the rewe (meeting point for the energies); sport will be practised in the Palihue (palin field) and ceremonies held in the guillatúwe (place where Nguillatun is performed).
The learning process will also include visits to different territories of Meli Mapu witran (the great multidimensional ancestral Mapuche territory),in order to get to know indigenous communities, their economic activities and current reality.