Fernando Wittig
    Wittig, Fernando

    Universidad Católica de Temuco 


    PhD in Linguistics from the University of Concepción, Chile. Currently, he is an academic and researcher at the Catholic University of Temuco. His research topics cover various dimensions of the sociolinguistic scenario of Mapuzugun (Mapuche language). He is the author and co-author of various publications in scientific journals and popular books.



    New scenarios of revitalization within the context of the pandemics, and the challenges faced by the indigenous peoples at the public arena


    The Chilean constitutional process of 2021-2022 represents an unprecedented milestone in the political relationships among the State, society as a whole, and indigenous peoples. On the linguistic front, both the process itself and the resulting text established conditions of use and evaluation criteria for indigenous languages that far exceed the framework of official language policies implemented since 1993. The participation of indigenous representatives allowed for greetings, interventions, and formal speeches to be heard with various modes of interpretation going in one direction or another. The draft of the New Constitution itself was translated into Mapuzugun, Aymara, and Rapa Nui. The proposal established a plurilingual State and ensured the official status of languages (in ancestral territories and areas with high population density). It also established specific rules for the exercise of language rights in education, justice, and health. The linguistic issue was addressed in line with widely circulated principles in international debates. In the final plebiscite, however, the proposal was rejected by a wide margin. Recently, a second process has begun, with a political horizon that is expected to be minimalist and conservative. With this background, this presentation offers a reflective analysis of the process, focusing on certain lines of action taken by indigenous movements and/or agents. These actions enable organizations to maintain continuity (cyclical renewal) in their revitalization practices beyond constitutional debates and their outcomes.