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Life and Resistance in the Mapuche Territory, Chile. Vida y Resistencia en el Territorio Mapuche, Chile.

Recuperación Territorial y Militarización de las comunidades.= Territorial Recovery and Militarization of the Communities.

“En la visión mapuche , el che, hombre y mujer de la tierra, no tiene sentido sin el territorio mapu.” -----Ruth Vargas en “Pewmas/ Sueños de justicia”

With the return of democracy in Chile in 1990, the Mapuche people began their reorganization. The enactment of an Indigenous Law in 1994 does not grant constitutional recognition to the economic, social and cultural rights of Indigenous Peoples. The discontent in the communities grows until in 1997 the first crisis between the Mapuche nation and the Chilean state since the restoration of democracy breaks out, following the construction of Ralco, a hydroelectric power station in Alto Biobío, built by ENDESA Spain, which flooded thousands of acres of land and Mapuche sacred sites.

Likewise, during this decade forest exploitation is intensified by economic groups to whom the civic-military dictatorship handed over confiscated Mapuche lands. The complicity of the Chilean State with the interests of these economic groups leads different Mapuche communities to conduct symbolic occupations of their ancestral lands. The State responds with intense police violence and in the media, the Mapuche social demand is depicted as criminal. Gradually, democratic governments begin to militarize the Mapuche communities.