Conduct and Customs
Proper conduct and respect for local mores require special attention from travelers unaccustomed to traveling among indigenous peoples. When greeting Chileans, it’s good form to offer the appropriate polite greeting buenos días (good morning), buenas tardes (good afternoon), or buenas noches (good evening or good night, depending on the time of day).
In terms of general conduct, both women and men should dress conservatively and inconspicuously when visiting churches, chapels, and sacred sites. This, again, is an issue of respect.
It’s highly inappropriate to take an in-your-face approach to photographing indigenous peoples, particularly the Mapuche. If the inclusion of people is incidental to, say, a landscape, that’s usually not a problem, but where a person is the primary subject it is best, if you manage Spanish or have another language in common, to try to establish a relationship before asking permission. If you have negotiated a crafts market purchase, for instance, there should be no problem; still, when in doubt ask, and respect your subject’s decision.
If photographing an individual with his or her consent, offer to send him or her a copy of the photo; a few people believe that all cameras are Polaroids (cámaras instantáneas) and may expect to see the results immediately.
© Wayne Bernhardson from Moon Chile, 2nd edition