2021-08-25

Women in Argentine history: Aimé Painé, the fighter for the Mapuche identity.

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Known as the Mapuche Princess, Olga Elisa Painé was born on August 23, 1943, in Ing. Luis Huergo (Río Negro) and died at the age of 44 in Asunción, Paraguay. Her parents could not register her with a Mapuche name in a system that denied the existence of native peoples as such.

 Torn from her land, her family, and her community when she was three years old, she was raised in orphanages, boarding schools, and Catholic choirs. When she grew up she looked for her family, changed her name, and in the midst of the Civil-Military Dictatorship, she turned to the repertoire in the Mapudungun language to become the first Mapuche singer of international renown. She studied music and since she was a child, she stood out for performing Gregorian chants at school. She realized that those tones and those songs were very similar to the Mapuche Taiel, a free and natural song. In 1973, at the age of 29, she joined the National Polyphonic Choir and discovered the meaning of music for her. At a Latin American choral meeting in Mar del Plata, in 1974, Aimé noticed that while all the delegations performed indigenous songs from their countries, the Argentine choir did not have them in its repertoire. This concern mobilized her to research her own origins and she discovered that Mapuche music was a true spiritual attraction, that her music came from the experience of singing in a universe of solitude in which her native land was found. Aimé Painé was the first Mapuche woman to tour as such, in traditional dress, and the first to sing in Mapuche and to explain that culture. She traveled half the continent with her singing and anthropological research and traveled to Geneva to participate in sessions of the United Nations Sub-Commission on Human Rights.

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