Sociology 55(1) pp 129-145

While increasing numbers of Indigenous peoples worldwide live in cities, mainstream research and practice continue to render urban indigeneity invisible and assume that Indigenous groups remain confined to a rural homeland. As a strategy of resistance to assimilation to their nation-states, Indigenous peoples in cities have tended to foster conceptions of ethno-cultural purity to defend their threatened cultures. Building on the literature on socio-cultural hybridity and based on ethnographic information, this article discusses the ways in which the Mapuche members of Indigenous associations in Santiago de Chile understand their indigeneity as urban dwellers. While the article reveals that the content of what counts as ‘authentic’ Mapuche-ness may vary for each individual, the Mapuche, framed by the collective participatory environment offered by their urban associations, attempt to perform, as best they can, the dominant understandings of what counts as indigeneity.