Chile TK - Pu Ruka Lawen - Mapuche medicine Meets Modernity

This ACCESO documentary film was premiered in South America at the Museo Nacional Histórico en Santiago de Chile in November 2015 and in North America at the San Diego Latino Film Festival in March 2016 and screened again at the United Nations Permanent Forum for Indigenous Issues in New York City in April 2017.

It demonstrates the manner in which Mapuche medicine has been integrated in the public health system of Chilean cities (Santiago and Valparaiso).  Traditional healing methods are examples of problem solving mechanisms that bridge the original Peoples of the earth with the modern state provision of public health services.  


Directed by Sebastián Vives and produced by James Cooper, this documentary was co-sponsored by UNESCO, the Chilean Ministry of Education and the Chilean Ministry of Social Development as well as California Western School of Law in San Diego.

Pu Ruka Lawen screened on UN Indigenous Permanent Forum

On April 24, 2017, the Proyecto ACCESO team was at the United Natoins in New York City to screen its documentary film on Mapuche medicine to a full house at the Permanent Forum for Indigenous Issues. 

Sebastian Vives, director the film Pu Ruka Lawen, and James Cooper, Professor of Law at California Western School of Law, producer of the film, presented to the asembeld delegates and leading NGO leaders of the 16th Permanent Forum. 

Chilean reprentatiive to the United Nations, Ambassador Cristián Barros introduced the film with a short speech.  "To bring the Chilean example of Traditional Knowledge and share our documentary with such an influential group of experts was a real honor,"said Vives. 

For Cooper, "this event caps off a great series of screenings of our work to the wider world.  This subject is important and the protection of Indgienous rights critical to human rights."

We received some good media attention about the film since it's debut at the San Diego Latino Film Festival:



Traditional Knowledge - Mapuche Medicine meets Modernity at the San Diego Latino Film Festival

For close to two decades, Proyecto ACCESO has worked with indigenous communities.  We helped train the first indigenous unit of the Public Defenders Office in Temuco, Chile.  We helped with citizen education and traditional justice with the President's Representative for the Constituent Assembly and we worked with the ILO and Swiss aid agency to help educate Guaraní people stuck in indentured servitude in the maze of jungle haciendas.


Our newest contribution to indigenous rights and promotion of sustainable development is our Traditional Knowledge project.  The film "Pu Ruka Lawen" ("Traditional Knowledge: Mapuche Medicine Meets Modernity") was selected to compete in the San Diego Latino Film Festival.  The film was sponsored by UNESCO and the Chilean Ministry of Social Development.  The screening, on March 13, 2016, saw a huge turnout and much attention.  Please see some photos below.


For more, please check out the following websites


The film was also used as a backdrop for a discussion at the Latin American Institute at UCLA, an event sponsored by the Chilean Consulate of Los Angeles. 

It has been an excelente showcase for the movie. This events alow us to show these topics outside our countries. We will continue showing this good example on creating ways to talk between our first nations and what we want to be as modern citizens.

Here the trailer:



Proyecto ACCESO’s Traditional Knowledge Documentary Chapter 1 (Pu Ruka Laren) plays around Chile during the Pre-Columbian Museum Film Festival

Proyecto ACCESO’s Traditional Knowledge Documentary Chapter 1 (Pu Ruka Lawen Warria Meu - Traditiona Mediine Meets Modernity) plays around Chile during the 10th Pre-Columbian Museum Film Festival.

For many years, the Chilean state and its agencies have been at odds with Mapuche leaders.  The media is filled with stories of pitched battles between the Carabineros and young Mapuche protesters.  Violence, police over-reaction, arson and other acts of property damage are dominant narratives playing out. 

But continues to be some good news that should be celebrated.  Mapuche culture, particular the traditional healing methods of Machi, medicine men and women of Chile’s largest indigenous group, have continued to be practiced in the new urban settings. They do so in doctor’s offices, hospitals, and in rukas (Mapuche medical/healing offices) that have been built inside hospital rooms and nursing homes.

Traditional Knowledge refers to the conservation of native sciences, medicine, folklore, artistry, and biological diversity within an indigenous culture.  The Mapuche people have been practicing these traditional healing techniques for millennia, long before Pedro de Valdivia arrived to what is now Chile.  This is a move toward self-determination that does not threaten the Chilean state but validates it. 

Here are some links for the film screening at different cities around Chile: