Home » The story of the “Poncho Rionegrino” and the grandmothers who hug with their Mapuche loom

The story of the “Poncho Rionegrino” and the grandmothers who hug with their Mapuche loom

by drbyos

Ana Nahuelñir has been a Mapuche, an artisan, and a weaver since she was nine years old. He was born and raised in Fisque Menuco, called General Roca. She is the daughter of Luciano Nahuelñir and Margarita Pichihuinca, she has six siblings. She went to the Cuatro Galpones school until fourth grade.

Every time she thinks and answers who she is, she is reminded of her grandmother. That of so many old women who wove life, ties and looms to shelter themselves and their loved ones from the cold winter of the south. Those who had the wisdom to create and to transmit to their sons and daughters, granddaughters, an activity that continues to this day.

Everything that has to do with loom work has been taught to me by my grandmother and other grandmothers too, who are not from the community. I have always been close to my grandmothers to learn”, Ana recounted. Custom, trade and life led her to weave innumerable garments, but what she never expected was to be the author of a provincial emblem, the Poncho de Río Negro.

Photo: Matías Subat

For a year in the province every June 21 is the Day of the Poncho Rionegrino for the beginning of winter and that poncho, the one she designed and made, today is a regional insignia.

“Memory is worked on the loom, culture is worked on. It is part of a pre-existing town. There we are and we are future and present ”

Ana Nahuelñir, Mapuche weaver, teacher and artisan

His ancestors dwell in it, as well as the spirit of the weaving Mapuche grandmothers. And the heritage is so strong that there are not a few left, there are many weavers scattered throughout Patagonia.

“There are many artisans who are working the (Mapuche) loom. More in the area of ​​the whole Patagonia”, the woman sentenced. In Pilcaniyeu, Joacobacci, Maquinchao, Los Menucos, Valcheta and in the Alto Valle, the majority of the artisans live.

“Memory is worked on the loom, culture is worked on. It is part of a pre-existing town. There we are and we are future and present. But there is also memory, where the girl who is learning works, the mother, the grandmother, the child, the parents, a whole family, “said Ana.

the woman too She is a loom teacher and today she is proud that she continues to bet on weaving, to the mother; which undoubtedly has to do with the entity of a town.

“Each warp that I work with my students, memory also goes there, everything that has to do with hope alsono. That it continue, that it not be lost, is as important as this, the culture, the fabric, the identity of a people, ”he said.

The Poncho Rionegrino: how it came about

For Nahuelñir, the Río Negro Craft Market is a great support, a program that accompanies the work of many. This is how the “Poncho Rionegrino” project was born, a project proposed by the Ministry of Culture. Approximately a year ago, artisans from Río Negro were summoned to participate. The slogan was to knit the Río Negro poncho.

Presented a total of 70 spinners from all over the province, of which ten went to the next phase and three were selected by the jury. Of the three, the one chosen to represent the province of Río Negro was finally left.

Photo: Matías Subat

for Ana, As an artisan it was a very important moment in her entire career, mainly preparing the warp, what I wanted to convey through that piece and represent its meaning.

He poncho was made with sheep wool and dyed with colors made with natural dyes. The green color represents the great Valley where she herself was born. “The Valley with its history and with a pre-existing town and those who came from the other side of the sea, with a suitcase full of dreams, hope, work; where the apple is harvested

The hidden message in the Poncho Rionegrino

He also sought to represent the fences and a native plant such as the jarilla. The river could not be missing, of course the water, with an implicit message for the care of water and life. However, for Ana, the most important thing is the main message she tried to convey: “the union of the peoples”

Photo: Matías Subat

“It has a very important symbol, how The Mapuche people see the worldview, how they see the world and what our ancestors have left us. And it has to do with the union of the peoples, the seasons of the year, the stage of life, but the most important thing is the union of the peoples, ”he assured.

The Poncho Rionegrino reached the presidency of the Nation

On June 5 of this year, less than a month ago, The poncho woven by the artisan from Roca reached the hands of President Alberto Fernández and Vice President Cristina Kirchner. It was when he traveled to the City of Buenos Aires, to a new edition of the Argentine Cultural Industries Market (MICA). The event was attended by a delegation from Río Negro that exhibited the Poncho Rionegrino, emblem of the territory.

In October 2022, the poncho was recognized by the Río Negro Legislature as a provincial emblem. The law that recognizes this object as a representation of value and cultural identity was unanimously approved. This norm also established June 21 as Rionegrino Poncho Day, since that date begins the winter season.

“We want it to become known. We want the poncho to travel throughout the province”, said Letizia Candiotti, director of the Río Negro Craft Market. The poncho is currently on display at the Cipolletti Cultural Complex.

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