Zuguleaiñ: We Will Speak follows a group of indigenous Mapuche youth as they continue their people’s struggle to maintain their way of life in the face of genocide, forced assimilation and racist state policies. Confronted with the potential disappearance of their language and cultural identity, fifty Mapuche youth from across Chile have come together to make a commitment to each other and themselves to keep Mapuzugun alive.
Today there are over 7,000 living languages, but 97% of the world population speaks only 4% of these languages. That means that just 3% of the world population is responsible for maintaining 96% of the world’s linguistic knowledge. UNESCO has calculated that around 90% of the world’s languages are likely to be substituted by dominant languages by the end of the century. Faced with the possible extinction of their language, Mapuche youth have assumed the responsibility of maintaining it as a living language.
While around 73% of Mapuche people between the ages of 70 and 79 speak Mapuzugun, that rate drops dramatically to only 19% in Mapuche ages 20 to 29. It is precisely this generation of 20-29 year olds who have taken it upon themselves to organize with their peers in creating solutions to what could possibly be an irreversible fate for their language and people.
Beyond individual commitments to learning Mapuzugun, the language immersion camps have created lasting bonds and an international network of support for youth in search of their Mapuche identity. The camp’s participants have also organized in order to strengthen the movement to recognize Mapuzugun as an official language in the Araucanía Region.
We hope that this documentary will inspire others to learn Mapuzugun, organize their own language camps, embrace their Mapuche identity, pressure politicians to make Mapuzugun an official language and most importantly tell the real story of the Mapuche and not contribute to the negative way the mainstream media portrays them. Most Chileans believe that the Mapuche no longer exist, let alone that their language is still spoken. They need to see the truth.