Chilean indigenous leader tours


Chilean indigenous leader tours

By Penny Saunders

ADELAIDE — Domingo Colicoi, an indigenous leader from Chile, spoke to a meeting on October 22 organised by the 500 years campaign in Adelaide. Colicoi is a representative of the All Lands Council of the Mapuche people of Chile.

The Spanish who arrived in 1537 found the they could not defeat the Mapuche, and signed a treaty which gave the Mapuche title to much of their land. However, in 1881, the Mapuche suffered a second invasion by the Chilean national army.

Colicoi said that the Mapuche have been using the 500 years anniversary to struggle for their own rights. Rights to land have been especially important because 50% of the Mapuche, who number 1.5 million people, are without land.

The Chilean government declared the All Lands Council an illegal organisation on June 25. Since this date, repression against the Mapuche has increased. Mapuche houses have been raided and people "disappeared".

Colicoi said that the Mapuche believe that the destruction of the ozone layer has changed their local environment. Mapuche agricultural yields have dropped by 40% in the last few years. n