Fellow Since 1996
Centro de Estudios y Documentacion Mapuche LIWEN
This profile was prepared when José Ancán was elected to the Ashoka Fellowship in 1996.
The New Idea
A member and vigorous protector of the Mapuche people and their culture, José Ancán is persuaded that Chile's school system, with certain much-needed reforms, could be transformed into a vitally important instrument both for addressing the needs and problems of indigenous people and also for inculcating a better appreciation, among the country's population at large, of the worth and contributions of people of varied ethnic and cultural backgrounds. He also believes that the key obstacle to the needed reforms is the absence of appropriate, carefully developed and well-tested materials presenting the ideas and cultural practices of indigenous groups.Accordingly, he is engaged in a carefully conceived and pioneering effort to develop, test and refine the needed materials and prepare them for use in schools throughout the country. In order to assure their wide acceptance and effective use, he is also engaged in a parallel effort to win support for his initiative among school officials and administrators, teachers, parents and other community leaders and to prepare teachers to use the materials and become effective agents of bicultural education.