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The land war

In these days of chaos and political instability, the Chilean government has particularly intensified the repression towards the Mapuche community. Known as “the people of the earth”, the Mapuche population has passed through a long history of injustices and abuses since the middle of the XIX century. Ancestrally tied to their roots and proud warriors, they opposed resistance both to the Incas and the Spanish invasions. Still today they fight against the central government in order to protect not just their cultural identity, bust also their own lands from the loots of foreign multinational companies with huge interests in the area. Sponsored and legitimated through chilean laws, which allow the indiscriminate confiscation of Mapuche territories, these companies are actually depredating large amounts of the rich resources of this uncontaminated land. In the eastern part of Araucanía, Mapuche’s origin land, the fight between local communities and the carabineros special forces has reached dangerous levels. Since the year 2000 at least 13 young activists of the Mapuche Rights organisations were killed, while many others have been incarcerated with the accuse of terrorism. The Mapuche community of Pewenche live in Lonquimay, a small Andean village near the Argentinian border. Some of them are artisan and farmers, but the majority is obliged to move towards the north of the country in order to find a job, most of the times unfairly paid as seasoner in the agricultural sector, and spending large part of the year away from their native place. After many years of this hard life and several legal requests (always denied by the authorities) a group of local families decided to occupy a large portion of land, confiscated in the past by the central government and put on sale on the private market. Organised as a political and revolutionary act, covered by scarves with the white star flags logo, symbol of the Mapuche people, they carried on horses their grazing animals from a small and inappropriate plot of land to a new and larger pastures, covering more than 20 kms. While carrying the animals trough the streets of the village under the eyes of unconscious residents, they challenged local authorities, publicly showing their occupying intentions. After more than six hours of path they finally reached the new plot and lead the animals behind the corral. “Lof Adkintuwe” became officially a Mapuche occupied territory, while friends and relatives welcomed the riders with a sad smile. They knew the fight was not at the end, but just at the beginning.

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