Chile’s Indigenous Football Tournament Kicks Off in Limache
Chile’s indigenous groups are joining together for the second indgenous football tournament for Pueblos Originarios, with Rapa Nui looking to defend their title.
The championship is organized by CONADI along with the Native People National Association (ANPO), and is supported by the “Gol Iluminado” Corporation, which is presided by legendary player Elías Figueroa.
The inauguration of the 2nd Football Championship took place in the Municipal Stadium of Limache and its participants, who belong to 9 different native communities, enjoyed this event with great devotion, opening the event with prayers and rituals to “Pachamama” and performing the popular “hoko” dance from Rapa Nui.
The 184 football players were dressed in colorful suits representing their respective ethnic groups and were waving their flags, while Yolanda Messier, the oldest woman of the Kawashkar community was thanked to the ancestors in her native languaje for the opportunity to participate in this championship, which is symbol of integrity and culture.
Gerardo Aravena Apablaza, head of CONADI’s Culture and Education Section pointed that : “ This is a great event for the native communities, and the champion of this tournament will take the cup to his respective territory, and will also have the opportunity to be the representative of Chile’s indigenous communities in the 1st Copa America for Pueblos Originarios, which will be held in Colombia in 2014.”
ANPO president, Nelsón Coliñir, added that “More than a football tournament, this is a meeting of native peoples of Chile and their cultures around a sport which is very popular among Chilean population.”
The event was organized by the Asociación Nacional de los Pueblos Originarios (ANPO), supported by CONADI and co- organized by Gol Iluminado Corporation, which is led by Elías Figueroa, who has been supporting the participants for a long time.
Figueroa said that: “This is a great honor for me to be part of this event. I used to be admired by the foreigners, and now I declared myself as a great admirer of the native communities.”
The Mapuche team scored 10 goals to Kawashkar’s 1, Quechua 10 -Collas 1, Aymaras 7 - Lican Antay 1. Rapa Nui’s title defense was off to a bad start, losing 2-1 to Huilliches. As part of the participation in the tournaments, the players accompanies Figueroa to Congress where a new bill was introduced looking to protect ancestral sports.