PALIN: Reviving Mapuche culture through sport

Palin is an age-old competitive sports game traditionally practiced by the Mapuche people, Chile’s largest native minority group. Named chueca by the Spanish conquerors, this exhilarating sport was originally played to settle tribal disputes. The game consists of 2 teams comprising 5 – 15 players, or peloteros, facing each other in two rows on a large rectangular field. Each player has their own role to play and is paired off against an opponent, known as a kon. Like field hockey, the aim of the game is to hit the wooden ball into the opposing goal with a wooden stick. However, during the 17th century, palin was outlawed by the Catholic Church. It has recently made a comeback in Mapuche society thanks to the formation of an eight-team league. In 2004, the government named palin as a national sport after facing pressure from various Mapuche movements. Nowadays, rather than settling disputes, the sport is used as a social function to strengthen friendships between communities, with both teams sharing a post-game meal. Just like hip-hop music, it has become a tool in the urban Mapuches’ struggle to reclaim their cultural identity. If you tune in to the Chile episode of, you can watch Pakesso and the crew try their hand at a friendly game of palin.
Jun 1, 2015
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