Raíz Común



July 2021-June 2024


Virtual, meeting every two weeks


Raíz Común is engaged in slow sisterly translation. Meetings begin with study of the Selk’nam language (indigenous to and re-emergining in Tierra del Fuego) led by poet and Selk’nam woman Hema’ny Molina. This common root connects to ideas about care, ecology and art, and a practice of translation that both includes and transcends poetry.


Hema’ny has been leading the Selk’nam community’s effort to gain recognition from the Chilean state–an effort that winds unendingly through the halls of bureaucracy. During this time, in Hema’ny’s words, Raíz Común has offered a space where she has been able to exist without proving herself and share her learnings about ancestral culture. In her words, Raíz Común is “a space created by a group of dreamers. All of us women. Where we, the Selk’nam women, exist from a place of inexistence. It is a space to share the advances of the strengthening of our culture, and also the advances of the social and legislative strengthening of the processes that will lead us to be legally recognized as an existing people by the Chilean state. But this space is also more than that. It’s a nook that we go to where we can be seen, accompany each other, be held and share our feelings. So, it is a space for therapy without being one. Es todo y nada. I imagine a map in which there is not a single territory but a route–we can’t quite see the beginning but it is a common root. There are different stops along the way where concepts and sentiments, are drawn out as guiding principles through which people like us, the Selk’nam, who do not have national permission to be, can be…without the need to explain who we are. Where we all are, and from our very beings we share different paths, our emotional routes to better understand the complex situation that affects us as people, but mainly as women, beyond nationality and identity. This whole route is being drawn at the same time that Selk’nam culture is being drawn into universal culture–the right to live, respecting difference and diversity, knowing it and understanding it but never disrupting it. I imagine a guide with different routes like common threads to a single refuge that is itself the right to exist.”


Hema’ny Molina / Fernanda Olivares / Bárbara Saavedra / Melissa Carmody / Camila Marambio / Carla Macchiavello / Christy Gast


Thanks to Tamaas Foundation for Media and Art

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