“The Mapuche people maintain their vitality, organize themselves and are free”

Lof Pillan Mahuiza’s lonko explains the process of reorganizing the Mapuche communities, their connection with the territory and their spirituality. Unfulfilled rights, journalism that lies and the fight against extractivism. It describes the repressive logic of governments and highlights the need for political dialogue between the State and indigenous peoples.

The Mapuche people are going through a process of recovery of their culture, philosophy, spirituality, ideology and politics. It is a process that we can start three decades ago. All expressions and realities of the Mapuche world intervene in this process, from rural to urban, from organizations with many years to the most recent.

There is an ideology that starts to circulate, traveling through the different places of Wallmapu, our territory, which today is called Patagonia Argentina, but for us it is Puelmapu (Chile is Gulumapu). Here in Wallmapu there is this process of strengthening and recovery.

And it’s a collective process of consciousness. Because the recovery and vitality that reaffirm all aspects of Mapuche culture is always collective. To which it is added that in various communities there is also a very particular knowledge of the place where we live, which generates a very strong ideological philosophical principle about our culture. It is on this principle that we recover the idea of ​​an alliance with the territory in the foreground. It is fundamental and takes place through language and spirituality.

This alliance consolidates our relations with the territory and with the entity that owns the territory: the strength of the newen. They are not gods, they are the forces of nature, they are an entity and they have the ability to hear us, to relate to us. This definition inherited from the ancestors, decoding that sign of nature, we do through our language and all our ceremonies. It is very difficult for the State to understand you; hard but not impossible. And then we established this alliance with the territory.

Of course it’s a reciprocal custody relationship. Let’s protect the territory we inhabit. In turn, the territory also takes care of us. And that gives us. This is where there is such an intimate relationship between the territories and the Mapuche, which means precisely “people of the land”.

This principle of alliance is strengthened with a collective alliance of the community within the lof (community). The founding nucleus of a lof is the family, the blood relationship. And this principle of alliance becomes the rule-law of the Mapuche world. That’s why we say that the laws of the Mapuche world are dictated by nature and not by human beings.


Everything becomes more difficult when we transfer this principle of life to the system that has prevailed for so many centuries in the world, the capitalist system, where what seems to be worth more than anything else is private property. So there is antagonism, conflict. And it is not by chance that this process of struggle costs the Mapuche people their lives, with many people murdered, prosecuted and raped. Why? Because hundreds of communities have been in the process of recovering their territory for over 30 years. And because we are consistent with the fundamental principle of the Mapuche people, which is that alliance with nature.

Therefore, when mining projects, dams, extractive policies come, we will always have a position of defense of the territory and, therefore, we also defend ourselves.

Faced with this situation, the first thing the Argentine and Chilean State does is to sue us. The Penal Code applies to us, of course they are oppressive states. They never attempt a political discussion, never an understanding of what territorial recovery means for the Mapuche.

They don’t want to understand that in us there is a historical ideological process in relation to the territory, for something we don’t say “grilagem”, we say “recovery”, because we have a historical basis in our action, there is ancestry. And it is necessary to remember that we did not participate in the creation of this State, not only because we were not summoned, but because we fought against this State, which usurped our territories with blood and fire.

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On the other hand, there is a whole process of territorial recovery that is linked to a whole political project, and this Mapuche political project has to do with the economic, cultural, philosophical and ideological recovery of the Mapuche people. It’s not just a conflict of ideological gazes. And it is a complexity that the states of Argentina and Chile should try to resolve.

territories, Mapuche, communities, indigenous peoples, land rights


We are in a very difficult context, at the height of extractive capitalism, and paddling against the current. But in this course we are generating awareness, not only within the Mapuche people, but also in relation to the rest of society.

What do we want? The state only thinks in terms of conflict. We make it clear that there must be a political dialogue, because this is not just a perimeter conflict, they have to understand that it is much more than that. It has to generate or accept some kind of space to discuss the difference, seek real solutions, but it will never be achieved with repression, persecution, denial, imprisonment and death, as governments have acted so far.

If the State really wants to find solutions, it has to recognize us as the People.

Of course there is a scaffolding of laws and rights, but they often seem just declarative. They are in the Constitution, in international human rights conventions, but these rights are not fulfilled. And if they ever recognize the existence of a plurinational or multiethnic state, whatever they want to call it, they have to recognize it not only in declamation, but also in deeds. Otherwise, everything will be simply a game, a parody of democracy, a besieged, infertile democracy that doesn’t prosper, that has no capacity to expand.

We propose the need for a serious political debate, not only for transitional governments, but also for Argentine society. But of course there is difficulty for this to be done. Largely because there is an elite that controls power, it is racist, supremacist, and we know that millions are very passive spectators and very permeable to communication entrepreneurs; mercenary media that corrupts the word and shows the Mapuche people as something they are not.


As conclusion: We have no other option but to advance in our struggle, which also implies understanding the different expressions of the Mapuche people. Because we are not an organization, we are not a social class, we are a people, with the complexity that being a people implies. And in this we must understand that the expressions are multiple, and the most recent – such as the expression of the Mapuche that has been urban for four generations – also occupy the center of attention today, as the one who lived in the countryside always had. .

It should not be forgotten that this is an ancient people that many believed to be almost disappeared, a people that suffered state violence long before the dictatorships. And despite everything, it is a people that maintains its vitality, demands rights, projects its society, organizes itself and is free.

And know that they are a people that did not give in to the empires that reigned in this part of the continent, nor did they give in to the Spaniards, and for decades they fought against the Chilean and Argentine states. And here we continue, with that historical idea, of continuing to exist, free and with dignity, in this part of the world.


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