Developing a Project to Investigate the Introduction of ICT to Mapuche Students in Chile

Developing a Project to Investigate the Introduction of ICT to Mapuche Students in Chile

Fernando Toro (Victoria University, Melbourne, Australia) and Arthur Tatnall (Victoria University, Melbourne, Australia)
DOI: 10.4018/IJANTTI.2016010103
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Abstract

The article describes the design of a study, using aspects of Actor Network Theory (ANT), to provide a level of understanding of how Mapuche students in Chile have shaped information and communication technology (ICT) to meet their needs, whether these are cultural, educational, work or other. The investigation aimed to analyse the impacts experienced by the Mapuche students as a result of the introduction of ICTs into schools where the predominant school population is composed of Mapuche students. The study described is still on-going and this article describes how it was set up and developed and how it is proceeding. A later article will describe more of the results.
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Introduction

The Mapuche are indigenous to the southern regions of Argentina and Chile, but this article focuses mainly on the Chilean Mapuche. Mapuche (Mapu = Tierra [Land], che = gente [people]) are one of the many American aboriginals that have strongly conserved their traditions, beliefs and identity (Montero 2009). The Mapuche mainly inhabit the south of Chile with a significant number concentrated in or around rural communities such as Osorno, Temuco and Bio-Bio. According to the 2002 Chilean Census, 692,192 were considered to be indigenous, of which 87.3% are Mapuche (INE 2008). From a regional perspective, Pepin (2002) indicates that the rural population of the Osorno region is composed of 80% Huilliches (Mapudungun for “people of the south”, they are also of Mapuche descent) and the remaining 20% of German descent. According to Merino and Pilleux (2003) the region of the Araucania has a significant number of Mapuche, mostly in rural areas and bordering 40% of the population.

This study makes use of Actor Network Theory (ANT) to provide a level of understanding of how Mapuche students have shaped the technology to meet their needs, whether these are cultural, educational, work or other. Considered as actors, the Mapuche are a militant society that fought a long war of attrition against the Spanish conquistadors and has ever since maintained a warring mentality to the numerous attempts by subsequent governments and policies to dispose, relocate and sometimes eliminate the Mapuche from their lands. To this day, the Mapuche continue to fight for the lands resulting in attacks on property and individuals from both sides of the conflict, hunger strikes by jailed Mapuche leaders and other forms of protest. These events are often reported in the newspapers and appear to have polarised the relationship between the Mapuche, Government (both central and local), landowners and the police (La Nacion 4 May 2015, La Nacion 20 May 2015). The Mapuche have opted to also raise their concerns in the United Nations (UN) to intercede on their behalf with the Chilean government (Enlace Mapuche Internacional 2014).

Pepin (2002) argues that the Mapuche’s education levels, retention levels, desertion, access to schools and resources are all important factors that show significant differences when compared to a population of urban schools. In addition, access to rural schools is also made difficult due to geographical, resource scarcity, cultural and economic factors.

This investigation aimed to analyse the impacts, if any, that have been experienced by the Mapuche students as a result of the introduction of ICTs in schools where the predominant school population is composed of Mapuche students. It studied the use, perception, teaching and teachers as well as their culture from an anthropological perspective in order to analyse the impact of ICTs on their culture as absorbed by those Mapuche students and their immediate community.

Background

Various ethnic groups reside in Chile, including the Aymara in the north of Chile and the Mapuche in the south, particularly in the Araucania region. The Mapuche, unlike other indigenous communities in America which came into contact with the Spanish, were able to reverse the effects of colonisation and maintain their cultural identity, beliefs and territory. This was achieved by waging war against the Spanish and latter against the newly formed colony and country (Llancaqueo 2006). During the colonial years, the Mapuche maintained a prolonged opposition to the Spanish crown which culminated in the Mapuche conflict or the War of Arauco, as it is referred to in Chilean textbooks and only ended in 1891 (Montero 2009).

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