Wekimün: A School for and with Indigenous Youth and Their Communities
STATUS: Complete (2012-2018) with resulting school still operating sustainably
In the Williche language of Mapudungün, wekimün means new knowledge; the integration of new and traditional knowledge. The Wekimün Chilkatuwe School, located in the archipelago of Chiloé, Chile, integrates modern knowledge with traditional Williche cultural knowledge to produce a unique educational program that serves the needs of the local Williche communities. The Ultimate Outcome of the Wekimün School Project was to support a better quality of life for all Williche people, as decided by Williche people, through education that is faithful to the spirit of wekimün and based in culture, language, human and Indigenous rights, gender equity, and governance. Each of the Project’s goals were based upon principals of youth and community engagement, decolonized practices, gender equality, wellbeing, and human rights.
By working with the Williche Council of Chiefs (WCC) of Chiloé and the Williche communities in determining the needs of the people in these Indigenous territories, the Wekimün Project constructed a completely unique curriculum that offers education and training best suited to support these youth for success in their communities. The Wekimün Chilkatuwe School will continue to adapt to community needs while respecting and reinforcing traditional Indigenous cultural knowledge and practices.
This project was designed to reinforce, deepen, and expand the WCC’s current and ongoing efforts to improve socioeconomic conditions and community wellbeing in their territories. The Wekimün Chilkatuwe School continues to provide Williche and non-Williche youth with opportunities to pursue education and develop skills in a program that respects and incorporates Indigenous culture, while focusing on wellbeing, gender equity, and community development.
Wekimün Chilkatuwe continues to provide Indigenous-focused curriculum and training opportunities to Williche and non-Williche people of Chiloé, and greater Chile. The school maintains strong connections to the Young Lives Research Lab and we continue to seek additional collaboration opportunities.
The following mini-documentary provides an overview of the impact of the Wekimün Project. Visit our YouTube Channel here for the Spanish version.