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Studies in Ethnicity and Nationalism: Vol. 10, No.

1, 2010

Chiles Other History: Allende, Pinochet, and Redemocratisation in Mapuche Perspective


Daniel Carter University of Cambridge

Abstract This paper employs a historical approach to challenge the widely held notion that Chile does not have an Indian problem, or any kind of multinational diversity within its borders. It will examine aspects of Chiles recent past from the perspective of the Mapuche people. Its purpose is twofold: to add a new voice to narratives about more recent Chilean history, and to outline the emergence of a new identity politics. Focusing particularly on issues of land and political strategy, the oral testimony of Mapuche activists, some recorded by the author, will add another perspective to the much analysed trajectory of late-twentieth century Chilean politics, from failed socialist experiment and subsequent military dictatorship to slow redemocratisation. For the Mapuche, the period represents a move away from cooperation with mainstream political organisations to gain concessions from the state, toward a more ethno-centric discourse of territorial autonomy. Reclaiming History It is often assumed that Chile is a country without signicant numbers of indigenous peoples or an Indian problem. In popular myths of nationhood, this forms part of the narrative of Chilean exceptionalism, which portrays other Latin American states (particularly its Andean neighbours and erstwhile enemies) as more backward because of their large indigenous populations (Larra n 2006:332). The last decade or so has seen a marked increase in debates about ethnicity in Chile, and in particular about the identity and political rights of its largest ethnic group, the Mapuche. This phenomenon has been paralleled by a proliferation of political activity, social movements, and NGOs organised around indigenous demands, in marked contrast to the decline of such activity in other sectors of civil society (Oxhorn 1995), but in keeping with the growth in ethnic political movements across the continent (Bengoa 2000; Sieder 2002). A key component in the struggle for such demands, which range from bilingual education to political autonomy, is the process of writing and
The author is a PhD candidate at the University of Cambridge Centre of Latin American

Studies. He is currently working on oral history and memory in southern Chile, with a particular interest in indigenous history and identity.

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Daniel Carter: Chiles Other History: Allende, Pinochet, and Redemocratisation in Mapuche Perspective

reclaiming history from the viewpoint of the Southern Cones most numerous prehispanic community (see for example Richards 2007). As Florencia Mallon indicates in her groundbreaking oral history of a Mapuche community in the twentieth century: [T]he historical lens provided by Mapuche history modies our understanding of Chilean history. . . . [M]any of the well-known narratives of twentieth-century Chilean history the gradual incorporation of workers and popular sectors into a national-level practice of coalition politics; the unique characteristics of the Chilean compromise state; the unique experiment with social inclusion represented by the agrarian reform decade of 196473; the military coup of 1973 as a bloody rupture in an otherwise effective consolidation of Chilean democracy become more complicated when viewed from a Mapuche perspective. Indeed, the very nature of Mapuche history and memory forces us to rethink notions of continuity and change and to disturb many of our closely guarded chronologies and periodizations. (Mallon 2005:21) This paper re-tells the story of Chiles late-twentieth century politics from the perspective of a people who maintained an independent society in the south until comparatively recently. Drawing largely on interviews carried out by the author with Mapuche activists during April and March of 2008, particular emphasis will be placed on the role of ethnic identity in shaping demands under different political regimes. It will be argued that there has been a shift from instrumentalist demands for the recuperation of land as a physical space for living and farming, toward more culturally-based demands for political autonomy. This will be seen in the light of the Republics 200-year-old history, from which the Mapuche perspective is routinely ignored, reected in the fact that the Chilean Constitution is today the only one in Latin America that recognises neither the existence nor rights of its indigenous peoples (Calbucura 2003:233). The notion of telling history from a different ethnic angle may appear straightforward to scholars at European universities, particularly those accustomed to the post-colonial habit of seeing the Indian as subaltern and protagonist of their investigations. However, the widespread denial about ethnic conict in southern Chilean towns, settled by colonists after military conquest little over a century ago (such as Temuco, which has been described as a settler fortress, populated by Chilean pieds-noirs in reference to French colonists in Algeria (Bengoa 1999:204)), makes this a truly challenging and necessary endeavour. While a growing body of historians and anthropologists within Chile are turning their full attention to the issue, popular imagination sees the Mapuche as lazy and barbaric, heroic in the legendary struggle against the Spaniard, but destined to disappear and become assimilated into Chilean society. Statistics and Discourses Mapuche is mapungundun for people of the earth, reecting a perceived intrinsic relationship to the land they have occupied in what is now southern Chile for thousands of years, even though many more Mapuches today live in cities such as 60

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Concepcio n or Santiago. This has generally come to replace more colonised terms such as Araucanian Indians in literature and the media over recent years. Today, along with Aymaras, Rapanuis, and others, there are between 650,000 and 980,000 Mapuche in Chile, some 46% of the total population.1 The proportion of society ofcially dened as indigenous may be signicantly lower than in countries such as Peru or Ecuador, but denial about the signicance of ethnicity probably has more to do with a discourse of nationhood which emphasises the civilised, European nature of its history, culture, and institutions and less to do with mere statistics. Furthermore, this not insignicant proportion ignores the 30% or so dened as mestizo, whose family histories may have as much, if not more, to do with the plight of indigenous peoples as with those who came to conquer them. The centralised nature of the Chilean state means that government policy tends to overlook their concentration in the quite recently colonised eighth, ninth, and tenth regions, along with the hundreds of thousands of Santiago residents who dened themselves as Mapuche in recent census surveys. The ninth region, in particular, is 23% Mapuche, with some county populations at over 90%, suggesting a strong geographical concentration in spite of large-scale migration (Kellner 1993:22526). Statistics, in any case, do not reect the historical importance of a people whose origins precede the invention of Chile, and who form such a crucial part of the nations founding narratives, both as allies in the struggle for independence against the Spanish (achieved in 1818) and as the barbarian other destined to be conquered and civilised. In common with other Latin American republics, the Chilean states attitude to its indigenous population has always been conditioned by its elitist, Europhile founding fathers, who saw Indians as a burdensome obstacle to nation-building (Stavenhagen 2002:2526). Following a brief summary of the Mapuches plight at the hands of the Republic, I will examine the hopes placed in Allendes revolution from above, focusing particularly on the relationship between indigenous demands, land reform, and factions on the political left. Most such gains were violently reversed following the military coup of 1973. In keeping with foundational notions of a homogeneous Chilean citizenry, the dictatorship attempted to eliminate indigenous land rights and communities altogether by granting individual property titles to those who asked for them. The defensive response of Mapuche activists will be examined, particularly in terms of the identity-based discourse that emerged as a result. Finally, the Mapuche experience of redemocratisation will be explored. Initial hopes for legal recognition and a new relationship with the Chilean state were soon undermined by the continuity of neoliberal economic policies and the criminalisation of protest. Pacication and Reduction Unlike other indigenous peoples in South America, the Mapuche successfully maintained their independence from the Spaniards. Whether as a reection of their military strength, or of the Spaniards lack of interest in an area with few valuable natural resources, the pact of Quil n in 1641 guaranteed Mapuche independence south of the B o-B o river (Collier and Sater 1996:5). The Republics attitude 61

Daniel Carter: Chiles Other History: Allende, Pinochet, and Redemocratisation in Mapuche Perspective

toward them has always been more ambiguous. Lines by Chilean Nobel Prize winning poet Gabriela Mistral, for example, reect the myth that the Chilean race was the peaceful result of bloody conict between Indian and Spaniard: The blood of Valdivia and Caupolica n, mingled in a splendid alliance, give the world a race of proud vehemence (quoted in Mariman 1997:1; Caupolica n was the Mapuche warrior-hero who led the offensive that ended conquistador Pedro Valdivias life in 1553). But for Mapuche society, the birth of the republic was seen more as a threat than a blessing. Indeed, popular wisdom at the time was the king is best; he has a lot of land. The Chileans are poor; they steal yours (quoted in Bengoa 1985:141). From the mid-nineteenth century, the descendants of Araucanian heroes such as Caupolica n began to suffer the progressive loss of land and animals, followed by wholesale slaughter, at the hands of settlers and the Chilean armed forces. This process, known ofcially as the Pacication of the Araucan a, has been associated with phenomena such as rising immigration, the coming of the railways and territorial competition with Argentina (a state which also militarily eliminated independent Mapuche society). The nature of this pacication is highly contested in accounts of Chilean history today. For example, while Villalobos (1982) claims that centuries of negotiation and exchange with the Spaniards meant that settlement of the Araucan a during the Republic could come about through friendly agreements called parlamentos, Bengoas epic Historia del pueblo mapuche (1985:187323) gives a detailed account of widespread resistance and genocide. Indigenous political organisations at the more radical end of the spectrum today claim that state violence against Mapuche communities in the present is a continuation of this conict. The main consequence of military defeat for the Mapuche was the literal and gurative experience of reduction. In a process lasting from 1883 to 1929, the Chilean state awarded thousands of land-grant titles to the scattered remnants of Mapuche society, frequently dividing families and communities by forcing them to live on reducciones (reservations). As a result, the Mapuche were subordinated, stigmatised, and forgotten, becoming progressively poorer and more disadvantaged in relation to the rest of Chilean society. Their expanding population and decreasing space meant that many had no choice but to migrate to cities such as Concepcio n or Santiago, where they experienced the double stigma of being both poor and Indian. The twentieth century witnessed a succession of political organisations that represented indigenous interests, such as the Corporacio n Araucana, which enjoyed electoral success on a platform of respectful integration into Chilean society. It was essentially indigenista in character, in that it shared a cross-continental current of thought around the mid-twentieth century that advocated paternalistic policies designed to enhance indigenous culture and aid integration into mainstream Latin American society (Bengoa 1999:9598; Stavenhagen 2002:28). However, unlike other Latin American nations (notably Mexico) whose foundational values and public attitudes proudly embraced the history and inheritance of pre-hispanic peoples, Chiles national narrative emphasised the civilising inuence of the settler. Therefore, such attempts at integration ultimately 62

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failed on account of continued racism within Chilean society, manifest in the widespread belief that inferior, more barbaric peoples were destined to become civilised and integrated into a homogeneous citizenry (Sieder 2002:4; for a discussion of this issue in relation to Argentina, see Quijada 2000). Progressively, landowners with scant regard for indigenous rights began incorporating the best reservation land into their vast estates, regarding the Indians living around them with fear and suspicion. In the 1940s and 50s, the urban bourgeoisie in Temuco began to describe the ring of indigenous communities who occupied fertile land around the town as the suicide belt because of the impediment to urban and economic expansion. Faith in the Revolution from Above: Land Reform and the Allende Years The Agrarian Reform period of 19621973 was paralleled by a new historical phase in Mapuche political strategy, characterised by a move away from the attempt to achieve goals through respectful integration into Chilean society and towards a new approach based on protests and land demands as a reaction against dispossession (Bengoa 1999:14). The main theme of this section is the nature of demands made by Mapuche activists and the success of their political strategies, focusing on land redistribution policies under Allendes Popular Unity coalition during 19701973. Allendes appeal to the international left lay in the fact that he was the worlds rst democratically elected Marxist president, and in his pledge to oversee a transition to socialism, or a revolution from above, through entirely legal, institutional means. Land redistribution, using the mechanism of Agrarian Reform inherited from Freis Christian Democrat administration, was to be one of the main planks of that revolution. Our concern here is with how this history intersected with the trajectory of Mapuche political movements. The main issue was the recovery of usurped reservation land, a need compounded by deteriorating living conditions. There was therefore much common cause with leftist and peasant groups, even though the Mapuche question was largely ignored.2 In keeping with the Chilean states exclusive concept of nationhood, legislation made under Alessandri in 1962, and signicantly expanded under Frei in 1967, contained barely any reference to the indigenous communities and their ongoing land claims (Correa, Molina, and Ya n ez 2005:86). Similarly, leftwing groups working both within and outside the system were sympathetic towards the plight of indigenous peoples, but they tended to see their problems only in terms of poverty and exploitation common to all landless or subsistence peasants. This tended not only to result in their overlooking demands for usurped lands, but at worst, perhaps, a benign kind of racism that saw Mapuche communities as backward, primitive, and in need of a combination of Marxist enlightenment and a good dose of paternalism (Foerster and Montecino 1988:28587). Statistics show the Popular Unity in a favourable light. While 20,596 hectares were expropriated in favour of the Mapuche during Freis 19641970 administration, 152,418 hectares were expropriated during Allendes brief period in ofce until 1973 (Correa, Molina, and Ya n ez 2005:220). However, in a recent article, Joanna Crow argues that it would be wrong to see the Mapuche as passive 63

Daniel Carter: Chiles Other History: Allende, Pinochet, and Redemocratisation in Mapuche Perspective

recipients of government policy, or simply as pawns in the overall mobilisation by the left. Instead, it is perhaps more accurate to say that the Left was able to draw on this growing ethnic consciousness because many Mapuche leaders decided that their peoples demands (particularly with regard to the land problem) were more likely be achieved through a broad class-based alliance. (Crow 2007:321) One characteristic of the Allende period was the awkward relationship between social change decreed from within parliament by the Popular Unity coalition continually hampered by the opposition and the spontaneous organisation occurring within many social sectors, such as peasant and student groups. The latter, which included the Che Guevara-inspired Revolutionary Movement of the Left (MIR), rejected the parliamentary road as reformist and as a mere continuation of the bourgeois status quo. Let us now turn to sources that demonstrate how Mapuches were active agents in alliance with both the parliamentary and extra-parliamentary left. It is interesting to note how Mapuche historians and participants in that process have partially reconstructed that relationship as a merely strategic one, with the left painted as manipulative, or ignorant of the Mapuches circumstances. Rosendo Huenumans story illustrates the problematic relationship between Mapuche demands and mainstream political parties within the governing coalition. Born and raised in a Mapuche community near the coast and as a wellknown union activist in the nearby coal mines at Lota during his early life in the 1950s (which employed large numbers of indigenous mineworkers), Huenumans communist convictions were always accompanied by a strong sense that the indignity suffered by his own people could not be explained by class repression alone. His experience, as union representative, of the intense cruelty and injustice employed by landowners and carabineros when expelling indigenous people from their reservations, suggested that racial prejudice was also a major problem. Convinced that mainstream party structures were the only way to secure recognition of Mapuche demands, he joined the Communist Party, who put him up as candidate in a heavily indigenous area on the strength of his popularity among his people. He was duly elected, joining Allendes coalition as a member of Congress in March 1973. Following his successful campaign to include a clause in the Agrarian Reform legislation that would take account of indigenous land demands, he presented a motion to include nancing, which would make this effective. At the last minute, his own party voted against him, convincing him that political parties of all stripes were inherently racist (Huenuman 2008). Much land occupation was carried out illegally by the extra-parliamentary left, in the belief that a sympathetic government would support the occupiers. Many accounts of the period paint a picture of virtual civil war between landowners and peasant collectives involved in mass land occupation. Some refer to the specically Mapuche aspect of this phenomenon in the southern provinces where many of these spontaneous occupations and hence violent conicts occurred (Loveman 1976:281; Steenland 1977:207). Mallon (2005) traces the fortunes of 64

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one Mapuche community in its attempts to recover land over four generations. Tired of the continual failure to recover land taken by the Landarretche family on the neighbouring estate by legal means, some members of the community opted to form a class alliance with the guerilla student organisation MIR (Revolutionary Left Movement) in their bid to secure forty-ve hectares of land which had gured in the original land entitlement and without which it was considered impossible to feed all members of the thirty or so extended families. Mallon tells an engaging story based on the oral testimonies of several actors, which took place in December 1970. A few dozen community members surrounded the Landarretche farmhouse with armed MIRistas, successfully expelling the occupants and reclaiming their usurped reservation land. Months of hostility were followed, in February 1971, by government intervention on the side of the Mapuche. Expropriation proceedings against the family were backed up by a generous dose of government help, including technical advice, provision of tools and fertilizers, and tractors to replace oxen. They farmed the land collectively, creating what Mallon describes as a rather interesting mixture of Christian Democrat agrarian reform, MIRista politics and Mapuche relationships of exchange. In the brief period before the military coup, the community enjoyed a eeting prosperity that is remembered with considerable nostalgia (Mallon 2005:131). Many voices today view the link between revolutionary movements and Mapuche communities with scepticism. Bengoa suggested that the radical students who came down from Concepcio n had read more about Petrograd in 1917 than about the Mapuches of esh and bone whom they had come to support (Bengoa 1999:150). Rolf Foerster and Sonia Montecino conclude their chapter on the Agrarian Reform thus: It would be a misrepresentation to translate these actions [such as those described by Mallon] in the perspective of class and revolution. An investigation in 1971 amongst the communities who had recovered their land showed that they had low levels of class consciousness owing to the petit bourgeois spirit of the Mapuche peasants. In other words, these mobilisations took place in the hundred-year-old tradition of recovery of community space, which allowed them, as an ethnic group, to demarcate their economic, political and social sphere as an ethnic group. (Foerster and Montecino 1988:359) Another Mapuche activist who looks back critically at the Mapuche-peasant alliance is Reynaldo Mariqueo, organiser of Mapu-link, an international Mapuche organisation based in Bristol, whose aim is to publicise the Mapuche cause through international forums and media output. Descended from a family of lonkos, or tribal leaders, on a community that bore the family name, he has rsthand memories of life on the new cooperatives in the times of Agrarian Reform. As the following testimonies illustrate, his vision of the essential difference in attitude towards the land by Mapuche and Chilean suggests an ethnically-based form of identity, which existed alongside the broad class alliance seen by those such as Mallon and Saavedra (see Saavedra 2002; Rodr guez 2003). 65

Daniel Carter: Chiles Other History: Allende, Pinochet, and Redemocratisation in Mapuche Perspective

[In the lands occupied by us] 95% of the families were Mapuche, who were used to working without looking constantly at the clock. The Chileans just looked at the clock and went home like as if it was a factory job. It reected a different relationship to the land, but it didnt mean [the Mapuche] was always at work; he also had many free hours to play palin [a traditional Mapuche sport] and so on. It was a way of working and living communally to which the Chileans were not accustomed. (Mariqueo 2008) When asked whether there were any conicts between Mapuche and nonMapuche, Mariqueo anticipated an important new dimension to Mapuche political demands that would begin to gather strength under the Pinochet dictatorship and form the basis of Mapuche politics in the democratic governments that followed. These could be referred to as identity-based demands and differ from more instrumental demands such as the recovery of land. At that time many Mapuche leaders made no distinction between peasants and Mapuches, so they felt as though they were peasants. There was no selfawareness as a people, in the way that it developed later on (or rather recovered). During the rst governments of the Republic there was a concerted effort at brainwashing the Mapuche to feel Chilean, not Mapuche. So many Mapuches at the time [of the Agrarian Reform] felt Chilean; they wanted to feel Chilean. But later, when Pinochet divided the communities under law 2568, the whole question of identity started to come up. (Mariqueo 2008) A new generation of Mapuche historians, writing from a kind of postcolonial perspective, reject the necessary association of Mapuche movements with leftright politics altogether. In Escucha Winka! (Listen, Outsider!) Sergio Caniqueo is dismissive of the minority of leaders who made alliances with political parties, suggesting that idealisation of the Mapuche as an agent of revolutionary change was a social construct created by the left. Whilst acknowledging that many of his brethren had been successful and respected activists in such parties, he afrms that they always did so as Mapuches. He believes that their contribution to the politics of agrarian reform in the southern provinces during the 1960s and 70s lay in the way they always gave a different perspective to the social struggle, always maintaining an other as an ethnic frontier, even if during the period one had blind faith in the states capacity to mould itself to the popular will, making conquest of state institutions desirable (Caniqueo, in Marima n 2006:190). It seems likely, however, that such dismissive attitudes toward the left form part of a discourse invented to carve out a radically ethno-centric space, entirely separate from mainstream Chilean politics. While it may be true that sectors within the left were ignorant of the Mapuche predicament, evidence suggests that the Allende years were the only period in Chilean history when the state has ever taken genuine steps to satisfy Mapuche demands, leading to real gains in terms of land and rights (Crow 2007:336). Mapuche leaders and organisations not only had faith in the revolution from above, they also played an active part in it. It would only be with the benet of hindsight that phenomena such as the reluctance of the 66

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Communist Party to support Huenumans proposals, or non-Mapuche peasants sharing ancestral land with indigenous people who had a wholly different relationship to it, led some leaders to conclude that the benets of left-wing politics to the Mapuche people had been limited. Others, meanwhile, recognise past partisanship and alliances, nding them no longer appropriate, while still others (including Rosendo Huenuman) exercise a dual militancy of double commitment to Mapuche claims and leftist ideas.3 Resisting Dictatorship: The Emergence of Identity Discourse After the military coup of 11 September 1973 most gains were reversed, with land returning to its previous owners and many Mapuches suffering the same persecution as anyone associated with the political left: imprisonment, torture, exile, disappearance, or death. The process which came to be known as Agrarian Counter-Reform was completed rapidly, with only 16% of recovered land remaining in the hands of Mapuche communities (Mella 2007:66). The military governments decree law subsequently allowed Mapuche communities to be divided up, dispensing with the historic land grant titles altogether, and replacing them with individual property deeds. The land could be sold to non-indigenous buyers after twenty years, although many got round this through loopholes such as renting it out on a ninety-nineyear lease. One crucial outcome of the dictatorship period (19731990) for the Mapuche movement was the strengthened awareness of a Mapuche identity separate from a Chilean identity. This was reected in the birth of new cultural organisations that simultaneously revived Mapuche culture and defended communities against Pinochets land division policy. Attempts to effectively terminate the Mapuches existence as a people under the dictatorship ultimately resulted in the arrival of a new strategy for a new generation of indigenous leaders, based not on pressuring the authorities to deliver, but on organising communities to resist the Chilean state. Rather than rely on the government to respond to protest and petition (impossible under dictatorship), the emphasis would be on the Mapuche as a separate people with its own culture and social organisation. This process is clearly explained in the oral testimony of Isolde Reuque, Mapuche, feminist, and a founding member of Centros Culturales Mapuches, the rst ofcial indigenous group during the dictatorship: [T]he strength of the movement really came from the fact that the communities used their own cultural practices to rebuild solidarity and pride. The gillatun, palin,4 the burial rites specic to each placeall events had a double meaning, both cultural and political. It helped us get in touch with our roots, and we said it loud and clear: our culture gives us pride and self-esteem. . . . If the dictatorship had any positive effect, it was to reawaken our culture. I think in times of great repression people look for ways to connect to each other and unify. When the repression was greatest, the Mapuche movement was strongest: with militant revivals of our language, our traditions, our traditional organizations. People respected the logko and the machi;5 they looked to the traditional leaders of the communities. Our 67

Daniel Carter: Chiles Other History: Allende, Pinochet, and Redemocratisation in Mapuche Perspective

greatest strength was that the younger generation was able to rekindle our identity as a people. (Reuque Paillalef 2002:115) The discourse of rights, identity, and autonomy would gather momentum in the dictatorships nal phase, within the context of negotiations for the coming democracy, described in more detail below. Division of Communities and New Forms of Resistance The decree law 2568 was undoubtedly the most audacious act carried out by the military government in relation to the Mapuche. In many ways, the Pinochet governments actions were simply the conclusion of a process which previous regimes (apart from the Allende government) had desired but been unable to carry through for legal reasons: the presumption that the Mapuche should and would become small-scale, autonomous landholders, indistinguishable from the Chilean peasantry (Kellner 1993:16165). Nelson Llanquileo, descended from a family of lonkos and Mapuche student activist in the early 1970s, explains what the legislation meant from the point of view of a politically active Mapuche: With the dictatorship begins the very negation of the existence of the Mapuche people, rst in the sense that the constitution speaks of Chile as a country where we are all Chileans. And furthermore the ley indigena also states that once the land has been measured and carved up, it is no longer indigenous, and neither are its occupants. We are completely left out. Our existence as a people is denied straight away. (Llanquileo 2008) Though it is clear that there was support for private property amongst those individuals whom it beneted, oral sources demonstrate that at the political and organisational level, Pinochets attempts to resolve the indigenous problem through land privatisation had the effect of initiating a new cycle of political organisation. The main organisation, formed legally in 1978 but with a hidden agenda of opposition to the dictatorship, was called the Centros Culturales Mapuche de Chile. Signicantly, in 1981 it changed its name to Ad Mapu, meaning the law of the land or natural law. This concept and the very use of a name in mapudungun were representative of the new, ethno-centric direction of Mapuche politics. The Centros Culturales was a legal organisation born under the umbrella of the Catholic Church, whose Bishops Conferences had become almost the only opposition force in Chile (Lehmann 1990:111). Its supposed function was the apolitical representation of Mapuche cultural interests. However, as indicated by evidence below, there was clearly an underlying political purpose. Rube n Sa nchez, who currently works with an NGO geared towards indigenous rights and the training of political leaders, has memories of activism in the Centros Culturales (later Ad Mapu) while in his early teens. As in Reuques case, activism against the dictatorship and a concern for the welfare of his people tended to feed off each other. 68

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Ad Mapu did not operate as a clandestine organisation, it operated publicly, it was a legal organisation, but it carried out clandestine activity. . . . One May Day [probably early 1980s] fty-six people marched in our rst overt political act and the majority of people there were from Ad Mapu; there was absolutely nobody from the trades unions or workers movement. (Sa nchez 2008) Sa nchez went on to explain Ad Mapus contribution to the pro-democracy movement, and how the importance of cultural identity came to the fore. This evidences a growing ethnic conscience beyond the immediate social, political, and economic problems facing the Mapuche (Bengoa 2000:22).6 It was impossible to oppose the dictatorship openly, but through defending people affected by a specic law which directly affected their land, family, and community, the organisation at once remained legal and easily recruited support. Letters, petitions, and press communique s were all employed alongside peaceful land occupation as responses to Pinochets decree law. It was through this kind of activism that Sa nchez came to realise: what I need is that my culture be respected, and what I must do is push for a change [in the law] which recognises that I have a way of life and a cosmic vision totally distinct from mainstream Chilean society (Sa nchez 2008). What these testimonies seem to demonstrate is that in a situation where alliances with other political organisations were difcult, and where the state effectively proposed to terminate the Mapuche as a people through a combination of coercion and market forces, the growth of resistance and identity politics emerged as a survival strategy. Mapuche Voting Behaviour in Pinochets Plebiscite One particularly complex aspect of indigenous politics during the dictatorship is pro-Pinochet voting behaviour by the Mapuche in the 1988 plebiscite, in which the Chilean electorate unexpectedly voted for an end to military rule.7 The question of why the Mapuche voted heavily in favour of Pinochet is clearly a sore point for those amongst their brethren who were politically active for the Mapuche during the dictatorship and suffered repression as a result. Interviews and conversations held by the author tended to suggest instrumental voting for material benets provided by the regime (electricity, pensions, etc.), blind respect for authority and an unbridgeable gulf between the democratic traditions of Mapuche and Chilean society as three main factors. It is beyond the scope of this paper to examine the clientalistic relationship that leads to landowners inuencing opinion and voting behaviour. However, the third reason, illuminated by Sa nchez, further demonstrates how history told from the indigenous point of view does not neatly t into the boxes created by mainstream historians or political discourses. It instead suggests the existence of an entirely different political culture: note the shift in emphasis away from the idea of a natural alliance with the left. We, as Mapuches, are participating in a political structure which is not our own. Imagine that you went to a Mapuche community and you had to 69

Daniel Carter: Chiles Other History: Allende, Pinochet, and Redemocratisation in Mapuche Perspective

choose a lonko: you would be participating in an election which is not yours; it does not belong to you. You do not know the structure and this structure has nothing to do with your structure. The democratic conventions of these people do not necessarily coincide with the democratic conventions of your people . . . therefore the Mapuche vote is not the right-wing vote. But neither is it a left-wing vote. You cannot analyse the Mapuche vote within a structure to which this people does not belong. (Sa nchez 2008) For Reynaldo Mariqueo, exiled in the United Kingdom along with his brother Vicente during the dictatorship, the Pinochet regime represented a resumed and intensied continuation of repression for the Mapuche people. They had suffered injustice, detention and torture before the military government as they would continue to suffer in the democracy that followed it. He pointed out two factors with regard to the Mapuches attitude to Pinochet: on the one hand, Ad Mapu posed visible resistance to the regime through its opposition to the division of communities where non-Mapuche organisations were absent. On the other, he reafrms the intensication of clientalism: apparent support for the regime should be seen in the light of material benets conceded by the government or proPinochet landowners, and not as an ideological afnity with fascism. In terms of political strategies and demands, the experience of dictatorship consolidated a new direction that would gather pace in democracy: recognition and rights as an autonomous people with its own history, cultural identity, social structures, and development strategies. In spite of numerous divisions within Ad Mapu, which generally centred around party political disputes and the level of ethnocentricity, voices would increasingly be united in demanding constitutional recognition for the Mapuche and mechanisms to decide for themselves how resources would be used, what was to be taught in schools, how public money would be spent: in short, how they would live (see Reuque Paillalef 2002; Mariman 1997). Redemocratisation Although Chile today may be considered a mature and stable democracy, the initial transition from military rule was characterised as severely limited by contemporary political analysts. Persisting factors of contention include the complex voting system designed by Pinochet to preclude the possibility of a majority left-wing administration and continuation of rigid neo-liberal economic policy. These are seen as major obstacles to allowing government to properly reect the will of the people (Oxhorn 1995; Tedesco and Barton 2004:173). However, other analysts underlined the democratic transitions success, based on the ability of organisations, parties, and institutions to quickly form pacts and agreements. One such pact was that made between a number of centre and leftwing parties (primarily Socialists and Christian Democrats) to form a coalition capable of defeating Pinochet in a plebiscite and subsequently winning a general election. The resultant Concertacio n has been governing Chile ever since (see Cavarozzi 1992). 70

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In terms of the relationship between Mapuche organisations and the Chilean state, Chiles slow process of redemocratisation can be divided into two phases. The rst coincides with the euphoria that greeted the end of military rule in the early 1990s. A pact, known as the Nueva Imperial Agreement, between the recently elected Concertacio n and organisations which had originated in Ad Mapu, promised not only to terminate the dictators land division law, but also to give constitutional recognition to the Mapuche as a people (Ad Mapu itself was excluded from the pact because it had become identied with leftist parties outside the Concertacio n). The second period begins around the election of president Frei (son of the previous president Frei) in 1994 and has largely continued through the presidencies of Lagos and Bachelet. It is characterised by progressive disillusionment with government promises, continuation of land usurpation, and the criminalisation of protest. There have been speeches about inclusion of ethnic minorities, but no constitutional commitment to recognise the Mapuche as a people, let alone talk of any kind of multinational diversity within the political community.8 Other than the repeal of Pinochets land division law, the most signicant result of the Nueva Imperial agreements was the creation of a National Corporation for Indigenous Development (CONADI), charged with protection and sustainable expansion of indigenous lands (Ray 2007:132). Oral sources, however, reveal a generalised disillusionment with the institution. For example, the rst director of CONADI was removed from his post when he opposed the Spanish electrical company ENDESAs hydro-electric projects. Seven major dam projects were originally planned, which would have left a total of 22,000 hectares of land under water; much of this indigenous ancestral territory. A World Bank study on the Pangue dam, completed in 1997, concluded that there were considerable consequences for the Mapuche culture, which was facing a process of cultural destrucution that inevitably would lead to the extinction of the Mapuche as a social group (Calbucura 2003:234). Since then, another high prole, controversial dam has been built in the upper B o-B o. Completed in 2004, the Ralco dam led to the displacement of some 100 indigenous families. These incidents seemed to conrm that CONADI was answerable to the state and not to the Mapuche communities it claimed to represent. Such disappointments served to further the conviction among many leaders that a more profound change was required, one that would lead to their full recognition as a people in conjunction with the rights this would entail: political autonomy expressed in the power to decide (amongst other things) how to use resources, and which development models to adopt. The Unbridgeable Gulf: Neo-liberal Economic Policy and Indigenous Rights A key reason for the disappointing results of the CONADI, and of the Nueva Imperial Agreements in general, was the strengthening of neo-liberal economic policy in the countryside, an example of which is the massive expansion of forestry plantations and the logging industry. The Concertacio ns continuation of Pinochets free market model placed the governments economic policies in direct 71

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contradiction with its pledge to protect Mapuche communities. The forestry sector constitutes a prime example of the neoliberal model at work in a rural context since it concentrates land tenure (frequently in the hands of foreign companies) and is hyper-sensitive to international markets (Haughney 2006:171). If world demand for wood and paper goes up, demand for land becomes insatiable. It is currently Chiles third most important earner of foreign exchange after mining and export agriculture. It is also ecologically damaging, as the fast-growing pine and eucalyptus are non-native species that use up large quantities of water and severely inhibit biodiversity. The logging companies claim property ownership over land belonging to Mapuche communities, who, in addition, suffer the contamination of land and water, drying up of water tables and resources, as well as isolation caused by the closing of rural roads and routes. Today, there are some 500 communities in conict with forestry companies (Ray 2007:188). The contradiction between the Concertacio ns policy goals of attaining the highest possible growth rate, providing equal opportunities with equitable development and protecting the environment have clearly become unsustainable, since the last two have inevitably been sacriced in order to achieve the rst. It has also resulted in more emphasis being given to private property rights and the rule of law rather than recognition of the history of usurpation, leaving unaddressed the broader claims of Mapuche communities, by reducing the problem to separate or distinct claims of individuals or single communities (Haughney 2006:156). The kind of loss experienced by communities in these circumstances goes beyond the loss of land merely as a threat to material subsistence. It encompasses a loss of space where culture can be renewed collectively and where Mapuche knowledge and values can be kept alive (Haughney 2006:181). This is essentially where land disputes from the 1990s to the present differ from those that took place during the Land Reform era. According to Peter Wade, this is part of a worldwide trend in indigenous movements characterised by the move from straightforward material demands for living or farming space, to the assertion of the right to a cultural space as an existential demand (Wade 1997:83, 96). Chilean historian and anthropologist Jose Bengoa suggests three main reasons for the resurgence of the indigenous political discourse in Latin America, from which the Mapuche are no exception. Firstly, accelerating globalisation has generated the reafrmation of local identities as a reaction against the homogenising tendencies of global culture. Secondly, the end of the Cold War has allowed social movements to form that identify neither with capitalism nor communism, but with the archaic utopia (a phrase borrowed from Peruvian novelist Vargas Llosa). Finally, the rolling back of the state has led to a crisis of what it means to be a national citizen, leading many indigenous groups to demand double citizenry (national and ethnic) or indigenous autonomy (Bengoa 2000:2949). In the case of Chile, government attempts to organise the peasantry and redistribute land in the period 19641973 led many indigenous communities to see themselves as Chilean peasants. The replacement of such paternalism with the treatment of land as a saleable commodity to boost GDP has been a clear factor in the growth of new social movements to demand territorial autonomy in an effort to promote local development models and defend culture. 72

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Conclusions No observer of Chiles affairs over the past few years can fail to have noticed a stark contradiction: while major advances have been made in areas such as human rights, gender equality, and democratic consolidation, social conict around indigenous issues has steadily increased. Hunger strikes by prisoners convicted under anti-terrorism laws, regular protests against police impunity, and the ubiquitous pro-Mapuche grafti in several Chilean towns are some of the most recent manifestations of this. The continued refusal of the Chilean state to accept the existence of ethnically-dened peoples within its national borders, has served to underline an inherent contradiction between the homogenising project of the Chilean state one people, one nation and of the Mapuche: recognition and the right to self-determination (Foerster and Montecino 1988:351; Quijada 2000:189). What has clearly emerged among Mapuche activists is a discourse of autonomy and self-determination in place of one that demands a place for the Mapuche within the Chilean nation. This has implied a new meaning of land as a source not only of agricultural production and living space, but as territory belonging to a people within which they demand the right to their own institutions, control of resources, and cultural freedom. Such a vision is reected, for example, in the recently formed political party Wallmapuwen, whose website, claiming international links with leftist Catalan, Galician, and Corsican parties, proclaims: The new phenomenon we observe . . . is the existence of a new generation of Mapuches who perceive our situation as a national question and not an indigenous peasant question (Wallmapuwen 2005). Historical strategies have accordingly progressed from those that campaigned to gain concessions from the state, to those that demand an autonomous space to which they claim historical entitlement. On the part of the Chilean state, ofcial speeches about the desirability of multiculturalism or the signing of international agreements on indigenous rights which have no bearing on the constitution will clearly not be enough to meet such demands even though Chile nally ratied the international agreement on indigenous rights enshrined in the ILO charter 169 in September 2008, a specic clause was invoked to make this no vinculante, or unlinked to the national Constitution. However, narratives about nationhood are historically constructed and therefore changeable (Larra n 2006:322). The acceptance of a Mapuche vision of history into Chiles narrative of nationhood must ultimately form part of any long-term resolution to these conicts. Notes
1

Figures based on census gures from 2002 and 1992 respectively. The apparent sharp decline is based on a controversial change in wording on the questionnaire, which suggested that self-identication as indigenous meant forfeiting Chilean self-identity. 2 This can be seen as part of a Latin American trend during the 1960s and 1970s in which policy-makers turned Indians into peasants (Wade 1997:98). 3 Note from article reviewer 2. 4 Gillatun, traditional religious ceremony; palin, a traditional sport, not unlike hockey. 5 Logko (literally head), community leader; machi, medicine woman (sometimes man).

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6

By ethnic conscience, Bengoa refers to the self-perception of a human group that it possesses profound cultural differences with the rest of the population (history, language, traditions, religion and even race) and the collective posturing to maintain these differences, that is, not to assimilate culturally (Bengoa 2000:22). 7 Voting gures for selected counties suggest a general correlation between the proPinochet vote and the proportion of Mapuche on the electoral role (Kellner 1993:22526). 8 These rights are set out in international law under the International Labor Organisations declaration 169. The reluctance of successive Chilean governments to sign up to this international agreement revolves around its refusal to accept different peoples within its borders, a direct contradiction with its own constitution. Finally ratied on 15 September 2008, it is not considered legally binding.

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Mariman, Jose . 1997. Movimiento mapuche y propuestas de autonom a en la de cada postdictadura. Denver, CO: Rehue Foundation. Marima n, Pablo, ed. 2006. Escucha Winka! Santiago, Chile: LOM. Mariqueo, Reynaldo. 2008. Interview by the author, 12 May, Bristol. Oxhorn, Philip. 1995. Organizing Civil Society: The Popular Sectors and the Struggle for Democracy in Chile. University Park: Pennsylvania State University Press. Quijada, Mo nica. 2000. Homogeneidad y nacio n: con un studio de caso: Argentina, siglos cas, Centro de XIX y XX. Madrid: Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Cienti Humanidades, Instituto de Historia. Ray, Leslie. 2007. Language of the Land: The Mapuche in Argentina and Chile. Copenhagen: IWGIA. Reuque Paillalef, Isolde Rosa. 2002. When a Flower is Reborn: The Life and Times of a Mapuche Feminist. Ed. and trans. Florencia E. Mallon. Durham: Duke University Press. Richards, Patricia. 2007. History, Politics and the Mapuche People in Southern Chile. Latin American and Caribbean Ethnic Studies 2 (2): 21316. Rodr guez, Carlos Ruiz. 2003. El pueblo mapuche y el gobierno de Salvador Allende y la Unidad Popular. Universidad de Santiago de Chile Proyecto 03-0051 SM La cuestion mapuche: Chile 19641973. . ., dir. Augusto Sanamiego. Saavedra, Alejandro. 2002. Los mapuche en la sociedad chilena actual. Valdivia, Chile: Universidad Austral de Chile. Sa nchez, Rube n. 2008. Interview by the author, 11 April, Temuco. Sieder, Rachel, ed. 2002. Multiculturalism in Latin America: Indigenous Rights, Diversity and Democracy. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan. Stavenhagen, Rodolfo. 2002. Indigenous Peoples and the State in Latin America: An Ongoing Debate. In Multiculturalism in Latin America: Indigenous Rights, Diversity and Democracy, ed. Rachel Sieder. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan. Steenland, Kyle. 1977. Agrarian Reform under Allende: Peasant Revolt in the South. Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press. Tedesco, Laura and Jonathan R. Barton. 2004. The State of Democracy in Latin America: Post-Transitional Conicts in Argentina and Chile. London: Routledge. Villalobos, Sergio. 1982. Relaciones fronterizas en la Araucania. Santiago: Universidad Cato lica de Chile. Wade, Peter. 1997. Race and Ethnicity in Latin America. London: Pluto. Wallmapuwen. 2005. Declaracion de Principios. Available at: www.wallmapuwen.cl/ principios_wallmapuwen.pdf.

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