Traveler Bio

Mari mari! Hello everyone! My name is Erin, and I am a linguistic anthropologist. This means that I study how humans use language to communicate with each other and interact with the world around them.

I am in the South American country of Argentina, working with a community of Indigenous people called the Mapuche. They are the original people from this region (like Native Americans in the United States). The official language spoken in Argentina is Spanish, but the Mapuche have a different native language called Mapudungun. Due to discrimination against this language and its speakers, only a small number of Mapuche people in Argentina speak Mapudungun today.

Recently, however, Mapuche people are creating new projects to help people to learn the language again. One way that people are doing this is through music. By writing lyrics to hip hop, heavy metal, and pop songs in Mapudungun, more young people are using the language and sharing it with others. They are also reconnecting to traditional musical instruments, ceremonies, and art practices like weaving and silverwork.

As a researcher, musician, and writer, I will be working with Mapuche communities to help preserve and promote the Mapudungun language and local music traditions. I am excited to share my experiences with you!

Want to learn how you could be a Fulbright Scholar like me? The Fulbright Program is the United States government's flagship international exchange program. Fulbrighters foster mutual understanding between the United States and partner nations, share knowledge across communities, and improve lives around the world. Learn more by clicking here!