National Indigenous Peoples Day in Chile Date in the current year: June 21, 2022

National Indigenous Peoples Day in Chile National Indigenous Peoples Day (Día Nacional de los Pueblos Indígenas), also translated as the National Day of Aboriginal Peoples, is a Chilean public holiday observed on the day of the winter solstice, which falls on June 21 in the Southern Hemisphere.

Indigenous peoples (Native Chileans) account for about one tenth of the country’s population. These are those who self-identify as Native Chileans and are accepted within at least one indigenous group. However, most Chileans are of partially indigenous descent; according to a study, about 40% of the country’s population are mestizo (people of a combined European and Indigenous American ancestry).

Approximately 85% of Native Chileans belong to the Mapuche ethnicity. It is composed of multiple ethnic groups that share a common religious, social and economic structure, as well as speak the Mapuche language. The traditional lands of the Mapuche are situated in Southern and Central Chile (Zona Sur and Zona central).

Other indigenous peoples that live in Chile include Atacameños, Aymaras, Diaguita, Kawashkars, Quechuas, Qullas, Rapa Nui, and Yaghans. These indigenous ethnic groups are officially recognized by the Indigenous Law adopted in 1993 after the fall of Pinochet’s military dictatorship and Chile’s return to democracy. Among other things, the law was instrumental in the establishment of the National Corporation for Indigenous Development and gave Native Chileans a voice in decisions that directly affect their culture, traditions and lands.

Chile is one of the countries that signed and ratified the Indigenous and Tribal Peoples Convention adopted by the International Labor Organization in 1989. Chile ratified the convention in 2008, and a year later, the Supreme Court of Chile applied it when ruling on a case concerning Aymara water rights. This decision is considered a landmark in the history of indigenous rights.

Chileans first observed June 21 as Indigenous Peoples Day in 1998. Such a date was chosen because the winter solstice plays an important role in the culture of many indigenous peoples and communities since it marks the end of winter and the start of the new agricultural season.

In June 2021, the Senate of the Republic of Chile (the upper house of the Chilean parliament) unanimously passed the law that established National Indigenous Peoples Day as a public holiday to be celebrated annually on the day of the winter solstice.

In addition to Chile, National Aboriginal Peoples Day, formerly known as National Aboriginal Day, is observed on the same day in Canada. It is a statutory holiday in the Northwest Territories and Yukon, but it is does not have a federal status. Bolivia also celebrates the winter solstice as a public holiday — Andean-Amazonic New Year (Willkakuti).

The UN’s International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples is observed annually on August 9. It is celebrated as a public holiday in Suriname. Some localities in the United States celebrate Indigenous Peoples’ Day on the second Monday of October as an alternatitve to Columbus Day.

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Category

Public Holidays

Country

Chile

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National Indigenous Peoples Day in Chile, holidays in Chile, public holidays, Native Chileans, winter solstice in the Southern Hemisphere