International Journal of Disaster Risk Reduction
Edmundo Kronmüller, a,b,e; Devin G. Atallah, b; Ignacio Gutiérrez, b; Patricia Guerrero, c; Manuel Gedda, d,f
a Escuela de Psicología, Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile, Chile
b Centro Nacional de Investigación para la Gestión Integrada de Desastres Naturales (CIGIDEN), CONICYT/FONDAP/15110017, Chile
c Escuela de Psicología, Univesidad Central, Chile
d Campus Villarrica, Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile, Chile e Centro de Estudios Interculturales e Indígenas (CIIR), Chile
f Centro de Desarrollo Local, Educación e Interculturalidad (CEDEL), Chile
On May 22, 1960, the most powerful earthquake recorded in history shook the coast of southern Chile: the ‘Valdivia Earthquake’. The areas around the Budi Lake, eighty kilometers from the epicenter, are lands of the Lafkenche-Mapuche indigenous group. The present study explored the role of culture and place in the remembrance and meaning-making processes of the earthquake in Lafkenche-Mapuche community members. Semi-structured qualitative interviews with eighteen participants (N=18) were completed. Through the use of decolonial narrative analysis, findings were organized around two themes describing how cultural and spatial elements in Mapuche communities can afford systems of meaning to remember and make sense of an extreme environmental event like a devastating earthquake. Results provide insight into how indigenous communities recollect sacred oral histories, tap into reserves of traditional ecological knowledge and adapt to shifting landscapes, which together surfaced as critical dimensions of remembrance, meaning-making and response to environmental hazards and their aftermath.