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Words in the News
 
Wednesday 29 October 2003
 
Chilean groups dying out
 
santiago Two indigenous groups in Chile have died out and another two are in danger of extinction, according to a major new report by twenty-five experts that was overseen by former president Patricio Aylwin. The report also recommended greater autonomy for the people of Easter Island. This report from Clinton Porteous:
 
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At the extreme south of Chile, ethnic groups and languages are being wiped out. The reporters found two indigenous groups, the Aonikenk and the Selk'am had disappeared and another two are close to extinction. One group, the Kawesqar, has just twenty people left and the other, the Yagans, seventy.

One Yagan woman who travelled more than two thousand kilometres north to Santiago for the formal ceremony told the BBC there are only two people left who spoke their language fluently.

The report recommended an urgent census and new programmes to try to save their culture and language. The study also called for the three thousand Rapa Nui people of Easter Island to be given greater autonomy under the umbrella of Chilean sovereignty. On the key issue of land rights, it called for a mechanism to study ancestral links to the land. It said public property should be handed back to its original owners.

Clinton Porteous, BBC, Santiago
 
 
Listen Listen to the words
 
wiped out
 
destroyed forever
 
indigenous groups
 
ethnic groups whose ancestors were the first to arrive in the country
 
census
 
an government survey of the whole population
 
called for
 
demanded
 
greater autonomy
 
more independence from central government
 
under the umbrella of
 
under the protection of
 
sovereignty
 
the power to make laws and control a country
 
land rights
 
the permission to use or own land
 
ancestral links
 
traditional family connections
 
handed back
 
here, formally given again
 
 
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