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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
an government survey of the whole population
called for
greater autonomy
more independence from central government
under the umbrella of
under the protection of
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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