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Rapa Nui people (Chile)

Last modified: 2006-09-30 by antónio martins
Keywords: reimiro | rapa nui | rongo rongo | crescent: points to top (red) |
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Flag of Rapa Nui
image by Pascal Gross, 27 Jan 2001
See also: Other sites:
  • The Reimiro Flag of Easter Island, an article by Gustav Tracchia, on the NAVA website
    reported by Phil Nelson, 27 Jan 2001
  • The two reimiros decorated with Pascuan writings can be seen on corpus "J" and "L"
    reported by Ivan Sache , 22 Aug 2003

The reimiro flag

Ratio uncertain, but probably 2:3, according to photos.
Pascal Gross, 27 Jan 2001

The symbol is exactly symmetric; the man’s face appears on both sides. This country [Rapanui] national symbol is a “pectoral”, something men wear over their torsos. In Sept.2000, during the inauguration of a new statue in the island, I saw it flown along with the national flag of Chile: The government seems be more sympathic to the idea of giving some autonomy to the islanders.
Gunter Zibell, 25 Jan 2001

The flag of Rapanui is known as Reimiro, which was created century XII more or less. The red figure of means represents a moon with three holes in its sunk part. In the ends two human faces exist watching itself frente-a-frente. This flag was declared official of the town Rapanui in Chile according to the existing Indigenous Law in this country [Chile].
Sergio Arenas, 11 Jul 2002

The Reimiro is presently used as the sole device of the current Rapanui un-official flag. Georgia Lee of the Easter Island Foundation describes the Reimiro as «ancient ceremonial wooden pectorals worn by chiefs. It is of lunette shape with heads on the ends.» It is a symbol of kinship and authority. Further to this significance, Grant Mc Call from the University of New South Wales (Australia) added: «One of the precious surviving samples of Rapanui writing, the Rongo-rongo, is carved on a Reimiro.»

Finally in true vexillological fashion, the Reimiro had been used on a previous flag. The current flag, which I saw in a TV documentary very briefly and without any comment by the narrator, is of a white field with a red Reimiro at the center. The flags are homemade and in secret, explaining the choice of colors.

Gustav Tracchia, 20 Aug 2003, quoted and resumed by António Martins

How does homemadeness and secrecy explain red on white?
António Martins, 20 Aug 2003

The flag is representative of the Polynesian past and culture of the islanders. According to Georgia Lee, after returning from a recent trip from Rapanui, the Reimiro flag has separatist intentions today, whether or not this was true in the past. «I noted that on New Year’s Eve 1999-2000, the Rapanui flag was flown by some islanders with the Chilean flag beneath it.»
Gustav Tracchia, 20 Aug 2003, quoted and resumed by António Martins

I don’t doubt that there are Rapanui separatists and that they use this flag, but is the only proof for this the hoisting of the reimiro flag above the chilean national flag? Its quite scarce an evidence — in comparable situations the national flag percieved as the occupant’s banner is ignored, not demoted…
António Martins, 20 Aug 2003

Official status

The website of the Chilean TV channel "Canal 13", 8 May 2006, reports a possible evolution of the status of Rapa Nui (Easter Island), provided the part of the Constitutional Reform prescribing “special territories” (territorios especiales) is adopted.

King of Rapa Nui Agterama Puhi U’ira To Huki A made a controversial declaration, saying that Chile had no right on the island since there was no document backing such a right. The next day, however, he sang the Chilean national anthem in front of the Chilean authorities and President of the Republic Michelle Bachelet. During the ceremony and for the first time in history, the Rapa Nui anthem was sung and the Rapa Nui flag was raised along with the Chilean national symbols. The Intendant of the Region of Valparaíso, Ivan de la Maza, said that this act will become a tradition so that in every official instance the flags of Chile and Rapa Nui will fly together.

I guess that the Rapa Nui flag is the reimiro flag rather than the provincial/municipal flag.

Ivan Sache, 10 May 2006

Indeed it is about the reimiro flag, according to the images on this page of the same website. Moreover, the white flag with red reimiro is in full use — «for me, both are my flag», said a local old lady; the (co-territorial) municipal flag, white with golden emblem, was also reported in local use.

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