Like Peru’s ancient textile traditions, Patagonia’s textile process has all of the elements of a form of communication, with codes and figures that represent a textile’s place of origin, author and an artistic representation of the Andean world. The extraordinary textile traditions of Patagonia’s native communities date back to pre-Hispanic times and are one of the most important practices within Mapuche culture.
Mercado de la Estepa
Mercado de la Estepa Qiumey Piuké (meaning “good heart” in the native Mapuche language) is a fair-trade nonprofit organization that works with indigenous artisans and rural producers in the Dina Huapi region of Patagonia. In 2008, the civil organization was established in order to revitalize the traditional weaving and cultural practices of local Mapuche artisans in Patagonia and to rescue their historical values in the process.
Support Patagonia’s Indigenous Communities
On select Patagonia expeditions, a small contribution is made to the Market of the Steppe in the form of a beautiful textile hand-made by a local artisan from one of Patagonia’s few remaining indigenous communities. The proceeds directly support the artisans and help preserve their ancient traditions and help the organization continue to provide a central space for artistic and cultural expression. We encourage travelers visiting Bariloche and the Lake District to stop at Mercado de la Estepa’s main location at the corner of Route 40 and Route 23 (near Bariloche) to shop for textiles and other gifts. By supporting the Good Heart Market of the Steppe, you are helping to support local artisans and revitalize the ancient cultural practices of Patagonia’s few remaining indigenous communities.