GOLLUSCIO Lucia Angela
congresos y reuniones científicas
Two field situations in the Argentine Chaco: The case of Mocovi and Vilela
Otro; Escuela de Verano organizada por el Programa DoBeS; 2004
Institución organizadora:
DoBeS. Programa de documentación en lenguas en peligro. Instituto Max Planck para Psicolingüística y Universidad de Frankfurt
TWO FIELD SITUATIONS IN THE ARGENTINE CHACO: THE CASE OF MOCOVI AND VILELA Lucía Golluscio and Beatriz Gualdieri DoBeS/University of Buenos Aires The purpose of this paper is to present two field situations in the Chaco area, in the frame of an ongoing research project that focuses on the documentation of four endangered American Indian Languages spoken in Argentina, in their ethnographic context. Specifically, this project aims to collect, process, and archive linguistic and cultural data for Mocovi (Guaycuruan), Tapiete (Tupi-Guarani), Vilela (Lule-Vilela), and Wichi (Mataco-Mataguayan). No exact estimate of the number of indigenous peoples and speakers is available in our country. Mocovi population is estimated at around 5,000; Tapiete people living in Argentina are around 760 ; Wichi population is currently estimated in 40,000 and, finally, although there is no data about the Vilela population and speakers, during our research we have located around 13 households which recognized being Vilela, and a few Vilela speakers and semi-speakers.   Research is being carried out by the University of Buenos Aires in cooperation with the Dept. of Linguistics of the Max Planck Institute in Leipzig, as part of the DOBES Program. Documentation activities are being carried out by an interdisciplinary and intercultural team comprised by linguists, anthropologists, and media experts, with the active participation of the members of the communities. For this presentation we have chosen two of the languages encompassed by our project: Mocovi and Vilela. Concealment of indigenous identity has been a common practice by members of both peoples. In the Vilela case, this practice is still highly current. The Mocovi have only started to drop it. In addition to the confrontations with the national army during the 19th century, the memory of the slaughters ordered by the national and provincial states during the 20th century is still fresh, and the fear of persecution and death has not been allayed. Language loss in both cases (although much more accentuated among the Vilela) seems to have its roots in those tragic stories of persecution and genocide.           The speakers of these two languages show contrasting attitudes with regard to the future of their languages, both equally challenging for our team research. In the case of Mocovi, the originary language is an explicitly important diacritic for ethnic identity, and the use and revitalization of native language as well as the study of culture at school is one of the demands advanced by the members of the communities. In contrast, surviving Vilela people seem to wish to “forget” their origins. “Invisibilized” among the Toba, Mocovi, and Criollo population, the Vilela have abandoned their rightful demands. Silence, rejection, and language shift are widespread.