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Boletín de filología

versión On-line ISSN 0718-9303


PAVEZ OJEDA, Jorge; PAYAS PUIGARNAU, Gertrudis  y  ULLOA VALENZUELA, Fernando. Mapuche interpreters and the protectorado de indigenas (1880-1930): legal constitution of land property, translation and castilianization of ngulumapu. Boletín de Filología [online]. 2020, vol.55, n.1, pp.161-198. ISSN 0718-9303.

Based upon an extensive revision of archival sources as well as of the Annual Reports (Memorias) of Chile’s Indian Protectorate (Protectorado de Indígenas), this paper proposes to study the mediators and socio-linguistic mediation practices employed by the institutions responsible for the settlement and relocation of the Mapuche people after their defeat under Chilean occupation forces (1894-1930). These institutions were the Protectorado –agency in charge of the legal defense of the Mapuche– and the Comisión de Radicación –which established the land to which a Mapuche family group could be entitled and drafted the entitlement (Título de Merced). The Protectorado had offices in five provinces south of the Biobío river (Arauco, Malleco, Cautín, Valdivia and Llanquihue), with a staff composed of interpreters, secretaries, engineers, assistants and the protectors themselves, usually lawyers. The Protectorado and the Comisión became the government’s judiciary agencies applying the Indian settlement laws and procedures to force the Mapuche population to live in a system akin to reservations (comunidades). They were thus the agencies closest to the indigenous needs and demands during this period. Three characters were key to socio-linguistic mediation required by these agencies: the formal interpreters, officially called “portero-intérprete” as they acted also as janitors, the informal “tinterillos” (pettifoggers) of Mapuche origin, and the “lenguaraces”, mediators of mixed origin, a version of the old frontier military interpreters. All of them had a role in the bureaucratic and judiciary processes administered by the State’s tutelary regime of occupation. We intend to show that the study of these institutions can shed some light into the practices of linguistic contact, translation, communication and mediation, bilingualism and the eventual imposition of Spanish as the dominant language during the difficult period in which the Mapuche society strove to preserve the rights to their lands confronting the Chilean and foreign colonization.

Palabras clave : historical sociolinguistics; linguistic mediation; translation; mapudungun-spanish contact; native settlement in reservations.

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