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Rapa Nui people (Chile)

Last modified: 2005-04-09 by
Keywords: reimiro | rapa nui | rongo rongo | crescent: points to top (red) |
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[Flag of Rapa Nui]
by Pascal Gross, 27 Jan 2001
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The reimiro flag

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

The symbol is exactly symmetric; the manʼs 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 Yearʼs 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 donʼt 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 occupantʼs banner is ignored, not demoted…
António Martins, 20 Aug 2003