The Mapuche national question in Chile

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The Mapuche national question in Chile a future of assimilation or ethnic identity affirmation?
Mariman Quemenado, Jose Alejandro
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Subjects / Keywords:
Mapuche Indians -- Cultural assimilation -- Chile ( lcsh )
Mapuche Indians -- Ethnic identity ( lcsh )
bibliography ( marcgt )
theses ( marcgt )
non-fiction ( marcgt )


Includes bibliographical references (leaves 160-177).
General Note:
Department of Political Science
Statement of Responsibility:
by Jose Alejandro Mariman Quemenado.

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|University of Colorado Denver
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Full Text
Jose Alejandro Mariman Quemenado
Profesor enPedagogia General Basica,
Universidad Catolica de Chile, 1989
Profesor de Estado en Historia, Geografia y Education Civica,
Universidad de la Frontera, 1993
A thesis submitted to the
University of Colorado at Denver
in partial fulfillment
of the requirements for the degree of
Master of Arts
Political Science

This thesis for the Master of Arts
degree by
Jose Alejandro Mariman Quemenado
has been approved

Mariman Quemenado, Jose Alejandro (M.A., Political Science)
The Mapuche National Question in Chile: A Future of Assimilation or Ethnic
Identity Affirmation?
Thesis directed by Associate Professor Glenn T. Morris
Since the beginning of the 20th century, different Chilean authors have predicted the
assimilation of the Mapuche. A pioneer work in Chilean anthropology is entitled Las
Ultimas Familias Araucanas (The Last Araucanian Families, Guevara, 1913). More
recently, a Chilean historian wrote in Chiles principal newspaper, ElMercurio, that
the Mapuche people do not really exist (Villalobos, 2000). However, the 1990s
showed the Mapuche to be important protagonists of the Chilean political struggle.
Faced with the expansion of Chilean and foreign transnational businesses into
Mapuche territory, some Mapuche have reacted with a strong movement to stop
energy and timber companies, and to demand the return of their usurped lands and
territory. As actors in the Chilean political scenery, the Mapuche have surprised
politicians and social scientists alike with their vitality. In this context a few scientists
have begun to talk about the emergence of a new Mapuche movement with a strong
nationalist discourse. How can one explain that, contrary to the belief that the
Mapuche would disappear through assimilation, the Chilean state has been unable to

assimilate them? This is the topic that the present thesis develops, exploring causes
that explain the failure of the Chilean state to achieve Mapuche assimilation.
This abstract accurately represents the content of the candidates thesis. I recommend
its publication.

I dedicate this thesis to my parents -Glovis Mariman and Margarita Quemenado-
who, before the end of the second millennium, took their wampo (canoe/coffin) -as
the Mapuche say- and began the trip to the land in the west, across the Lafken
(ocean), from which people never return. I also dedicate this thesis to my uncle,
Benito Marillan, and my godfather, Reinaldo Cid, who are also making this voyage. I
miss all of them.

My thanks to my advisor, Glenn T. Morris, for helping me clarify my ideas about the
national question. I also wish to thank Michael S. Cummings, Anna C. Sampaio,
Miguel Lozano, and the Chilean anthropologists Rolf Foerster and Javier Lavanchy
for sharing their ideas and critiques of earlier versions of this thesis. Finally, I wish to
thank Elizabeth L. Parmelee, my wife, and the Davis-Putter Scholarship Fund for
their generous support.

1. INTRODUCTION.................................................1
Concepts To Be Used.......................................7
2. LITERATURE REVIEW...........................................21
The Mapuche in the Chilean Social Sciences...............21
The National Question in the Social Sciences.............25
Who Are the Mapuche?................................34
Society and Culture................................35
Who Are the Chileans?....................................45
The Colonial Society in the Origin of the Chileans.45

The Colonial Mercantile Economy in the Origin of
the Chileans...................................50
The Origins of Chilean Identity................52
CHILEAN STATE............................................58
The War of Conquest and Domination...................58
The Mapuche Relocation to Reducciones................61
The Chilean Indigenous Laws..........................67
The Chilean Imposed Citizenship......................70
CHILEAN ECONOMY..........................................80
An Overview of the Chilean Economy...................81
An Overview of Chilean Agriculture...................88
The Relationship Between the Chilean Economy and the
CHILEAN SOCIETY.........................................110
The Disruption of the Former Mapuche Society........110
The Colonization of the Mapuche Territory...........118
INTO THE CHILEAN SOCIETY................................125

The Ethnic Rejection of the Mapuche.....................125
The Chilean Myth of an Homogeneous and Egalitarian
Chilean Stereotypes of the Mapuche......................133
CHILEAN SOCIETY............................................138
Are the Mapuche Physically Different from the Chileans?.139
Mapuche Demography......................................143
How Many Mapuche Speak their Language (mapudugun).145
9. CONCLUSION................................................150

3.1 Mapuche Territory Prior to 1541.......................................40
3.2 Mapuche Territory During the Colonial Period..........................40
4.1 Map of the Mapuche Territory After Chilean Independence and
Prior to 1883.........................................................60
4.2 Map of the Mapuche Reducciones in Region IX, until 1980...............65
9.1 Chilean State Policies to Assimilate the Mapuche Have Worked
in a Contradictory Manner............................................155

1.1 Mapuche Population by Region, 1992 Chilean Census (INE)............3
1.2 Mapuche Population by Comunas, Region EX, 1992 Chilean
Census (INE).......................................................3
4.1 Merced Titles....................................................64
6.1 Poverty in Comunas with the Highest % of Mapuche Population,
EX Region. 1992 Chilean Census (ENE), Ficha CAS 2...............117
8.1 Annual Demographic Growth, 1992 Chilean Census (INE)..............146

A 20th century of conflagration among human groups with specific national
identities has concluded. Nonetheless, the national disputes have not ended. In
different points of the world, Macedonians and Kosovars, Russians and Chechens,
Indonesians and Timorese, Israelis and Palestinians are resolving their disputes in
pacific or violent ways.
In South America the picture is not so dramatic, a consequence of a veil of
analytical categories that mask such conflicts as political (dictatorship versus
democracy), socio-economic (class struggle), or cultural (traditions versus modernity).
This has happened with the Mapuche,' who in fact are recognized as different
Chileans inside the Chilean national society,1 2 but under the law they are considered
Chileans like all the rest, with all the implications that this presents.
Since the middle of the 1990s, the Mapuche issue has become one of the
principal points on the Chilean political agenda. Mapuche demonstrations to recover
usurped lands and even to demand a return of the Mapuche territoiy have increased.
Meanwhile, politicians try to ascribe the Mapuche demonstrations to political
1 The word Mapuche means "people of the land" in the Mapuche language. Early Spanish writers and
Chileans until the first decades of the 20th century used the word "Araucanos" to designate the
Mapuche (this word is currently in disuse). A glossary of key Mapuche words is located at the end of
the text.
2 The Mapuche national question is an issue that includes the relationship not only with Chile, but
also with Argentina. This work, however, focuses on Chile, where the majority of the Mapuche
population lives.

manipulation by extremist groups or by environmental terrorists. Some pundits also
attribute the current Mapuche demonstrations to the poverty of the Mapuche
peasants, a consequence of low education, creating scarce opportunities to compete in
a modem global economy. Rarely do these speeches suggest that the source of the
conflict is endemic to the historical and ongoing relationship between the Mapuche as
a cultural nation and Chile as a state.
Since the creation of the Chilean state (1810-1818), and particularly since the
militaiy defeat and political incorporation of the Mapuche in 1883, the Chilean state
has developed several unsuccessful efforts to assimilate the Mapuche. After 118 years
of compulsory incorporation, the Mapuche still preserve their memory, as it is
possible to deduce from the 1992 Chilean census.3 Why has there not been
assimilation of the Mapuche?
This work will explore the state policies4 enacted since the creation of the
Chilean state to the present promoting Mapuche national assimilation. For this reason,
this work focuses on the Chilean initiatives to assimilate the Mapuche, rather than on
the Mapuche themselves.
My interest in this topic comes from being Mapuche and being familiar with
the various Chilean explanations of Mapuche survival. The works typically written
by Chilean social scientists about the Mapuche-Chilean relationship concentrate on
the Mapuche and their culture, seeking an explanation for the persistence of Mapuche
3 Please see tables 1.1 and 1.2 for a summary of the census results.
41 note the policies that I consider the most important Chilean initiatives to achieve Mapuche
assimilation into the Chilean state.

Table 1.1
Mapuche Population by Region
1992 Chilean Census (INE)
Region Population total Mapuche % 1 % 2
l 243,586 9,557 3.9 1.0
ll 162,375 6,747 4.1 0.7
III 292,308 12,053 4.1 1.2
IV 358,101 18,010 5.0 1.9
V 1,017,873 58,945 5.7 6.3
MET. 3,848,121 409,557 10.6 44.0
VI 501,892 3 5,579 7.0 3.8
VII 599,447 2,444 5.4 3.4
VIII 1,241,856 125,180 10.0 13.4
IX 552,586 143,769 26.0 15.4
X 680,019 68,727 10.1 7.4
XI 55,826 3,256 5.8 0.3
XII 106,586 4,714 4.4 0.5
Total 9,660,367 928,060 9.6 100
1 Regional Mapuche pop. as % of total regional
2 Regional Mapuche pop. as % of total Mapuche
MET. means Metropolitan Region (Santiago).
Source: Haughney & Mariman P. F. (1993)
Table 1.2
Mapuche Population by Comunas, Region IX
1992 Chilean Census (INE)
Comuna Population Mapuche % %
total 1 2
Temuco 176,712 38,410 21.73 26.71
N. Imperial 25,693 13,627 53.03 9.47
Freire 16,300 7,531 46.20 5.23
Saavedra 9,594 6,113 63.71 4.25
Lautaro 20,117 6,087 30.25 4.23
Galvarino 9,305 5,313 57.09 3.69
Carahue 17,444 5,133 29.42 3.57
Villarrica 25,475 4,862 19.08 3.38
T. Schmidt 10,311 4,674 45.33 3.25
Victoria 23,237 4,303 18.51 2.99
Vilcun 14,402 4,142 28.75 2.88
Angol 32,930 4,009 12.75 2.78
Loncoche 16,672 3,982 23.88 2.76
Pitrufquen 14,851 3,831 25.79 2.67
Collipulli 15,763 3,087 19.57 2.14
Cunco 13,027 2,841 21.80 1.97
Traiguen 14,896 2,805 18.83 1.95
Lumaco 8,371 2,798 33.42 1.94
Tolten 8,285 2,361 30.91 1.78
Lonquimay 6,173 2,400 38.87 1.66
Pucon 9,950 2,359 23.70 1.64
Ercilla 5,949 2,352 39.53 1.63
Curarrehue 3,893 1,865 48.27 1.29
Puren 9,435 1,687 17.88 1.17
Perquenco 4,174 1,555 37.25 1.08
Melipeuco 3,714 1,385 37.29 0.96
Curacautin 12,865 1,259 9.78 0.87
Los Sauces 6,359 1,068 16.79 0.74
Gorbea 10,610 1,062 10.00 0.73
Renaico 6,326 668 10.55 0.46
Provincia 410,529 117,333 28.58 81.61
Provincia 142,314 26,436 18.57 18.38
Total Region 552,843 143,769 26.00 100.00
1 Mapuche pop. as % of total comuna
2 Mapuche pop. as % of total Mapuche pop.
Source: Haughney & Mariman P. F. (1993)

identity. Some show indifference and others are astounded by the Mapuche capacity
to resist assimilation. Some advocate stricter measures to speed Mapuche assimilation
(Hepp, 1979) or measures to protect and preserve the Mapuche culture (Bengoa,
Historia de un Conflicto. 1999).
I am intrigued by the fact that Chileans do not frequently study themselves for
explanations of the endurance of the Mapuche identity. For this reason, in this work I
have tried to interpret the enduring Mapuche identity as a consequence of the Chilean
failure to assimilate the Mapuche. A failure that has ended up by favoring the
reinforcement of the Mapuche identity. With this work I seek to contribute to the
understanding of the Mapuche-Chilean relationship, for those interested in the topic
and particularly for the Mapuche themselves, who -in my opinion- should not place
too much confidence in the continuing capacity of the Mapuche culture to resist the
Chilean assimilationist siege.
This study seeks to answer the question posed above, developing an
explanation that examines why the Mapuche situation is the way that it is today. The
thesis is that there has not been assimilation of the Mapuche because Chilean state
policies to assimilate the Mapuche have worked in a contradictory manner. Despite
the decades-long explicit objective of numerous state policies toward assimilation of
the Mapuche, the result has not been successful. Many of these policies have ended
up blocking assimilation and in other cases have actually facilitated a reinforcement of

a Mapuche identity (reproduction of a Mapuche culture).
The failure of Chilean assimilationist policies is reflected in the 1992 census
(tables 1.1 and 1.2), leading to two primary presumptions. First, the Chilean state has
failed in its attempt to force the Mapuche people to abandon their national memory.
Urban Mapuche recognize themselves as Mapuche even when the majority of them are
second or third generation urban-bom and raised. Second, as the rural Mapuche are
recognized by Chilean social scientists as the more genuine conservator of the
traditional Mapuche culture,3 5 the current traditional Mapuche culture is the patrimony
of a minority of Mapuche in the total universe of Mapuche population. However, it
was not a big problem for Mapuche people living in Chilean cities, far away from the
rural center of the genuine Mapuche culture, to subscribe to the Mapuche identity.6
The general conclusion is that, although a degree of assimilation of the
Mapuche is undeniable, it is no less certain that they still preserve a clearly different
identity and a culture that can still be called Mapuche. Furthermore, if the state
continues its policies toward the Mapuche as it has during the period considered here,
a greater reinforcement of Mapuche identity is foreseeable, given that the younger
generation of Mapuche express growing hostility toward the Chilean state, which they
3 Bengoa, currently one of the more prominent writers on the Mapuche, in his two last books (1999
and 2000) continues to focus on the peasant sector of the complex Mapuche issue. He dedicates only a
few paragraphs to the urban Mapuche, and he does not consider seriously the writing of the emerging
Mapuche intellectuals -urban of course- whose ideas have started to influence the political activism of
new Mapuche leaders.
6 In the 1992 census, the urban Mapuche made use of his/her internal prerogative to self-define him or
herself (individual self-determination). In this sense, those urban Mapuche proved that far from a few
characteristics taken alone, such as speaking the Mapuche language, they share a national-historic
memory, values, experiences, and a sense of common future with the rural Mapuche. Perhaps the most
important lesson is that the Mapuche do not feel compelled to accept the Chilean state's definitions of
"the" Mapuche. In other words, they were not confused about their social collective national identity,
even after 118 years of Chilean state assimilationist discourse.

consider responsible for Mapuche poverty.
This work attempts a new explanation of the persistence of a Mapuche
identity based on two different ideas. First, it assumes that in the origin of the
Chilean-Mapuche relationship, there was a territorial nation -the Mapuche- and a state
that entered into conflict with it (Borojov, 1979). Second, this work assumes that the
present identity of the Mapuche is, in an important part, the result of the relationship
of dominance and subordination created by the previous situation.
Expanding on the first idea, the state aggressively invaded and subordinated
the Mapuche nation. In this inaugural moment, the character of the conflict was
defined, that is, assimilation coming from the conquering state and self-affirmation
from the subjugated (Mapuche). As a result of that situation, the state and the
Mapuche now overlap in the same territory, where one is dominant -state- while the
other is subordinate -Mapuche.
With regard to the second idea, the work recognizes that it is through politics
that the confrontation of the dominant state and the subordinated nation is
developing. It is in the political arena that the nationality expresses its perceptions of
the past, present and future. The reaction of the dominant state to these perceptions
creates new arenas for national confrontation. It is in the context of this political
struggle that the memoiy of the dominated nation is transmitted from generation to
generation (Thompson & Rudolph, 1992).

Finally, the work focuses on the period of time after the creation of Chile to
the present. For this reason, recourse to historical background prior to 1810 is not
relevant. The history that occupies the narrative effort of the author is the history of
the Chile state. That is, the history that began with the Chilean attempt to defeat and
incorporate the Mapuche into the Chilean state, achieved in part in 1883, when the
Chileans militarily conquered the Mapuche. The current Mapuche-Chilcm relationship
is deeply marked by those events rather than by the period prior to it. The areas that
will be addressed are political, economic, social, ideological, and cultural.
The work has been organized in nine chapters. The first, introductory chapter
includes general information about the topic. Chapter Two presents a literature review
discussing the Chilean analytical categories commonly used with regard to the
Mapuche, and also introducing the literature that elaborates my own conceptual
framework. Chapter Three is a brief historical overview of the protagonists of the
Mapuche national question, describing the Mapuche and the Chileans and establishing
the differences between them. Each of the following five chapters discusses a different
aspect of Chilean assimilationist efforts : political, economic, social, ideological, and
cultural. Chapter Nine presents conclusions, informed by the materials discussed, and
suggests possible future developments in the Mapuche national question.
Concepts To Be Used
The most common concepts in description, explanation and prediction of

ethnic relationships or national conflicts7 are: culture, Indian, minority (ethnic or
national), nation (and in relationship to nation, nation-state and state), ethnie (and in
relationship with ethnie, ethnic identity), people and nationality. Since these concepts
will be of recurrent use throughout this work, they are defined and discussed below.
Culture is understood as the sum of all material and spiritual human creation,
that is, the system and method of production, social organization of property,
language, spiritual beliefs, art, history, and religion, to name only a few. Members of
an ethnie or nation form their minds in the culture of their ethnie or nation, without
necessarily being conscious of this process. The culture forms the base of the
personality of the members of an ethnie or nation, that is, the perceptions, feelings
and values shared (Breton, 1983). However, further precision is needed regarding this
concept. Amilcar Cabral (1993) has noted that in the context of the decolonization of
Guinea Bissau, it is necessary to distinguish between culture and cultural
manifestations. For Cabral, culture is dialectic. It is in permanent change, while
cultural manifestations are the state of the culture in a given historical moment. In
other words, a Mapuche riding a horse is no less Mapuche than one who has never
ridden before. The pre-colonial Mapuche did not know the horse, brought to Chile by
the Spanish colonists. Nonetheless, during the Spanish colonization the Mapuche
became skilled horsemen.
Indian has a pejorative connotation to the Mapuche. Numerous testimonies
7 These conflicts have been called "wars of the third kind" in contrast to wars between/among states
and in contrast to ideological factions such as the Sendero Luminoso in Peru. The wars of the third
kind are about statehood, governance, and the role and status of nations and communities within the
state (Holsti, 1996: 21). Other authors have called these wars the "third world war", noting that these
wars are about the control of the state and state control over autonomous nations. Most of these wars
are over territory, resources and identity, not politics or economics (Nietschmann, 1987: 2).

that reinforce this affirmation can be found in the literature about the Mapuche
(Purralef, 1998; Gonzalez, 1995). That connotation is understood by those who use
the word to offend. The word Indian is associated with images of primitivism,
rudimentalism, and bestiality. In summary, the word Indian is synonymous with
savage in contrast with civilized. That is, the word Indian has a negative value, as
opposed to civilized, which has a positive value.
Technically, the word Indian designates the colonized in colonial situations in
the Americas (Batalla, El concepto. 1972), the historical experience lived by the
American native populations, from the arrival of the Europeans to the present. The
Europeans imposed on the inhabitants of the Americas a different way of life. Thus,
the word Indian reflects a social category of individuals, in a colonial society where
they are subject to domination. In other words, "al indio lo crea el europeo, porque
toda situation colonial exige la definition global del colonizado como diferente e
inferior" (Batalla, Utopia, 1981: 19).8
To the colonist, the Indian was not -nor is- a being with a culture, a language
and an history. The Indian was -and is- a subject at the base of the social and political
colonial structure, to be economically exploited in the extraction of wealth for the
colonists and their colonial metropoli.
Minority (ethnic or national) is a relocated population in alien territory. The
African-Americans in the U.S., for instance, in their origins were a cultural and
linguistically heterogeneous population. The "blacks" -transformed into Affican-
8 "The Indian is created by the European, because every colonial situation requires the global definition
of the colonized as different and inferior." (Author's trans.)

Americans in the course of the 20th century with the civil and political rights struggle-
have become homogeneous under a process of domination and political, economic,
social, and cultural colonization.9 The African-Americans spoke different languages
and observed different cultures in their pre-slavery past. Their identities were
different as they originated from different regions of Africa. If today the African-
Americans are recognized as one single group it is not as a consequence of their pre-
slavery identities, but as a consequence of their common slave past when they were
typified as black. The same occurs with regard to language, an alien language imposed
on the African by the slave-holders. That language, English, acted as a unifying
element on the black population, particularly for the generations bom in the U.S.
Having been relocated, dispersed in the U.S., and constituting a demographic
minority with respect to the white population (their master of long ago), the African-
Americans are the equivalent of a national minority. This condition has as a corollary,
the lack of recognition of an African-American territory inside the U.S. For this
reason, the contemporary political behavior of the African-American population does
not aim at recovering an historical space within which to develop a national utopia:
the building of an African-American nation. The political straggle of the African-
Americans has been for political, economic, social and cultural rights. In other words,
African-Americans straggle for civil rights and against racial discrimination. Such
behavior reveals a political consciousness that can be typified as minority, because it
does not aspire to achieve state forms of political life (Obieta, 1993). The same can be
9 Homogeneous, here, does not imply that all African-Americans are the same, but rather that, in the
context of slavery, different groups adopted a common language, culture, and identity which today
makes them a cohesive minority.

said of the Arabs in France, the Kurds in Germany, and Filipinos in Singapore.
"La palabra latina nation, emparentada con natus (nacido), implica ante todo
una idea de origen que, por esencia, es independiente de la voluntad individual. La
natio a la que pertenece un individuo es la comunidad humana en cuyo seno ha nacido
y de la que ha cogido el lenguaje y las costumbres10 (Maugue, 1981: 24). In more or
less similar terms Walker Connor states that the term nation derives from the past
participle of the Latin verb nasci (to be bom), and hence the nationem, which
connoted breed or race" (Moynihan, 1994: 176). Bernard Nietschmann agrees with the
previous ideas, adding that a nation is "made up of communities of people who see
themselves as 'one people' on the basis of common ancestry, history, society,
institutions, ideology, language, territory and (often) religions" (Nietschmann, 1987:
2). Obieta (1993) has clarified that the previous ideas express the historical and
sociological meaning of nation, as opposed to a more political and recent use.
Anthony D. Smith (National Identity, 1993) refers to this concept of the nation as the
non-Westem model. "Its distinguishing feature is its emphasis on a community of
birth and native culture"11 (p. 11).
Nation-state is not a cultural community, as the nation was defined by the
10 "The Latin word nation, related to natus (bom), above all implies an idea of origin that, in essence,
is independent of the individual will. The natio to which a person belongs is the human community
into which she/he was bom and from which she/he has taken the language and customs." (author's
11 These ideas stand in stark contrast to Eric Hobsbawm's (1990) notion of nation. Hobsbawm rejects
such arguments saying that "like most serious students, I do not regard the 'nation' as a primary nor as
an unchanging social entity. It belongs exclusively to a particular, and historically recent, period. It is
a social entity only insofar as it relates to a certain kind of modem territorial state, the 'nation-state,'
and it is pointless to discuss nation and nationality except insofar as both relate to it" (pp. 9-10). In
other words, Hobsbawm does not conceive the nation in perennialist terms, but as a contemporary
social construction.

previous authors. The nation-state is a sovereign political community that is identified
not generally with a nation in the cultural sense, but with an artificial community
created by the state. This community has a culture, of course, but the root of this
culture is recent in comparison with a cultural nation. Unlike a cultural nation, where
the culture is the result of a lengthy and ongoing process of creation rooted in
overcoming natural and human obstacles as well as cultural loans from other human
groups, in a nation-state the culture is generally the product of combining different
cultural nations under the hegemony of one group and under a modem state regime
which directs and dominates, determining the cultural manifestations or standards to
be used (the "official" language for example).
Beginning with the French Revolution, the idea of nation, as it was defined
previously (sociological-historical), began to be identified with the nation in the
political sense (nation-state). Yet, after little more than two centuries of substitution
attempts, the state has not been able to erase definitively the existence of the nation.
The nation-state is, according to Obieta, a legal fiction (Obieta, 1993:49). In other
words, it is [l]a nation concebida a imagen del Estado de los juristas, que toma forma
en Francia y que va a extenderse por Europa y el mundo, [...] compuesto por la masa
indiferenciadadeciudadanos (Maugue, 1981: 31).12
Although the previous definitions are understandable, I will use the
designation of nation-state for the Chilean state based on the following arguments.
Although the "Chilean" nationality did not exist before independence from Spain, it is
12 In other words, it is the nation conceived in the image of the state of jurists, that acquires its form
in France and that will expand throughout Europe and the world, [..] composed of an undifferentiated
mass of citizens." (Author's trans.)

inarguable that Chilean nationality has been under construction since then. From the
moment that the state apparatus of the colonial regime was overthrown by self-
determinist sectors in Spanish colonial society, those sectors -using the old colonial
state as a base- started to build the modem Chilean state and nationality. After 191
years of independence, the state has achieved a sense of Chilean nationality among the
masses, particularly strengthened by two wars against Peru and Bolivia (1836-1839
and 1879-1884), border disputes with Argentina (starting in 1856), war against Spain
(1865), and the never-ending wars with the Mapuche. As these conflicts arose, a
strong feeling of national destiny created on the part of the Chilean population. Mario
Gongora (1986) observes that the Chileans are the masterpiece of the Chilean state
and that the sense of "chilenidad" comes primarily from these wars. For this reason,
although I recognize that the Chilean nationality is still being created, I use the
concept nation-state with regards to Chile.
The concept of statehood is a legal concept that involves people, a territory,
and political institutions. Nietschmann (1987) includes in this definition the condition
that the state is a "centralized political system, that uses a civilian and military
bureaucracy to enforce one set of institutions, laws and sometimes language and
religion within its claimed boundaries" (Nietschmann, 1987: 1). According to this
definition, the state is the current and institutionalized power, expressed under a
structure of judicial or normative authority-obedience (Badia, 1979).
Ethnie has been defined as un grupo de individuos unidos por un complejo de
caracteres comunes -antropologicos, linguisticos, politicos-historicos, etc.- cuya

asociacion constituye un sistema propio, una estructura esencialmente cultural: la
cultura13 (Breton, 1983: 12). This definition of ethnie resembles what Maugue,
Connor and Nietschmann call nation. Connor, in particular, expresses the idea that
" [ejthnie is derived from the closest equivalent to nationem in ancient Greek, ethnos,
and thus ethnic group, properly used, also refers, in Max Weber's words, to 'those
human groups that entertain the subjective belief in their common descent'"
(Moynihan, 1994: 176). Despite the similarity of the concepts of ethnie and nation,
an observation made by Batalla seems relevant. According to this author the ethnie
como categoria aplicable para identificar unidades socio-culturales especificas resulta
ser [...] de orden mas descriptivo que analitico14 (Batalla, El concepto, 1972). Based
on of this critique, the concept has limited use in this work. One of the instances in
which it seems more appropriate to use this concept is in association with the word
Ethnic identity is understood in this work -following Batalla- with the
connotation of self-recognition. Self-recognition is not a purely subjective issue, given
the historical background that supports it. When a person ethnically self-identifies
with a culturally differentiated population, his or her language, his or her past
(history), and his or her customs constitute the basis on which this identification is
being made. Ethnic identity problems have emerged among the Mapuche, from the
moment when the colonists first threatened the existence of the Mapuche society. In
13 A group of individuals united by a complex of common characteristics -anthropological, linguistic,
historical-political, etc.- the association of which conforms a separate system, a structure that
essentially cultural: the culture. (Author's trans.)
14 As a category applicable for identifying specific socio-cultural units it turns out to be [...] more
descriptive than analytical." (Author's trans.)

other words, prior to the establishment of Spanish colonial society, the Mapuche did
not live an existentialist life, asking themselves if they were or were not Mapuche. The
identity issue became more critical with the loss of Mapuche independence, and with
the state policies imposed by the Chilean state. Such problems have affected
especially those who have experienced the diaspora to the Chilean cities, where the
customs were/are distinct from those observed by the Mapuche in the reduction
A People can be defined as an ethnic group that possesses its own territory
(Obieta, 1993). Nevertheless, Obieta emphasizes the fact that the population
component of a people resides largely within its territory. This does not seem to be
the Mapuche case, though the most important element of Obieta's definition is the
existence of a territory rather than the fact of being a majority within that territory.
Por este [...] elemento se distingue de la minoria etnica no territorial16 (Obieta 1993:
47). The concept of peoples is one of the most frequently used by Chileans linked to
political and intellectual activities. Mainly, it is used to allude to the Chilean
population. And, although from time to time the concept is used with the Mapuche,
its use has not been institutionalized to designate the Mapuche. This in part is a
15 Commonly the Mapuche reduccion is equated to the U.S. Indian reservation, but in rigor it is not
the same. Chilean politicians probably adopted the idea of the reduccion during the 19th century from
the U.S. Indian reservation system. However, the Chileans gave this structure a new name and a new
meaning. The word reduccion comes from the Spanish verb reducir (to reduce), consequently the word
reinforces the idea of a population that was reduced to certain lands called reducciones. In contrast, the
U.S. reservation carries the meaning of public lands set aside for some special purpose (in this case to
put Indian peoples there). The Chilean Indian reducciones do not have Indian councils or any form of
internal government as the U.S. Indian reservations do. Thus, the reduccion is a sum of individuals or
families located together, but they are not a people with their political, social, and economic traditions
to preserve their way of life. In this work I will use the word "reduccion" or "reducciones" in italics to
refer to this structure.
16 By this [...] element it is distinguished from the nonterritorial ethnic minority. (Author's trans.)

consequence of two factors.
The first is the requirement of a level of ethnic consciousness, which could be
seen by some as the precursor to state formation. This factor is rejected by Obieta
because of the difficulty of measuring a subjective characteristic. The Chileans have
this level of ethnic conscience, eliminating discussion of whether they have the right to
build a state entity (a nation-state with its corresponding state), while the Mapuche
do not express such an advanced level of ethnic consciousness, their demands thus
being of a different type: economic and cultural. The second factor is the clear
understanding on the part of some Chileans that the use of "people" to designate the
Mapuche carries the danger of demands for self-determination (Diez, 1992). Since the
origin of the United Nations, the topic of self-determination of peoples has been part
of the UN agenda (U.N., 1981). The UN has adopted multiple declarations regarding
the right of all peoples to self-determination (Hannum, 1990). Consequently, the
debate over the concept of "peoples" has been part of the UN's history and its
importance is not unknown in Chile.
Nationality refers to a people living in a relationship of domination and
subordination with regard to a state. The Basques are a human population established
since ancient times in a specific territory of the European continent. Basques
recognize that space -Euskadi- as their historical territory. Furthermore, the Basques
possess their own language and culture, both hundreds of years old. The Basques are a
nationality because even when they were conquered by the Spanish and submitted to
domination, they preserved their territory and they are demographically hegemonic

within it (Obieta, 1993). Given this condition of the Basques, they -unlike the
African-Americans- can aspire to have their own state form, as their claims show.
This state could take the form of autonomy (as they live today) or independence
(self-determination in a secessionist sense is the ambition of more than a few
Although the Basques are a nationality; the Spanish could also claim the use of
this concept. Furthermore, the Spanish passport grants Spanish nationality to
whoever carries it. This presents a confusion that needs to be clarified. There is a
nationality linked to the idea of a historic cultural community, and there is a
nationality associated with the state or more recent political nation-state.17
Nationality in the first sense refers to a nation that does not enjoy political
sovereignty (Obieta, 1993: 49). In other words, a nation which does not have its own
state and -usually- lives under a relationship of domination within a nation-state.
Nationality in the second sense develops the idea of a political link to a sovereign
nation-state and its state. The "national question" in Europe in the 19th century and
the beginning of the 20th century alludes to the cultural communities within empires
and nation-states, and their struggles for self-determination. That is, the national
question does not usually refer to conflicts among nation-states. Nation, in the sense
adopted in this work and explained previously, does not differ from nationality. Both
words are related nouns with a slight difference in nuance. The first concept does not
17 In American English usage, nationality is typically equivalent to citizenship. It is important to note,
however, that nationality can also refer to ethnic identity and is used in this sense in many other
places. For a more extensive discussion of this topic see John Borrows, Citizenship in Diverse
Societies (Oxford: University Press, 2000) 326-342.

specify whether the ethnic group is a sovereign community (state), while the second
makes explicit allusion to the condition of not being sovereign (Obieta, 1993).
In contrast to the African-Americans in the U.S., the Mapuche recognize a
territory and still preserve lands in it. Consequently, their situation more closely
resembles that of the Basques in its quality of nationality than the African-American
in their condition as a national minority. But, are the Mapuche demographically
hegemonic in their territory? Given the statistics of the 1992 census -and even as far
back as the 1907 census- the answer is no. The Mapuche are currently a minority
(26%) compared to the Chilean population in the Mapuche country (most of the IX
Region of Chile).
If the Mapuche are a minority in their territory, are they a national minority?
The answer to this question could be yes. Given the precedent of being a demographic
minority in their territory, it is reasonable to think that they must be a minority with
regards to the total Chilean society. According to the 1992 census data, 63.56% of the
Mapuche lived outside of their historical territory. The greater part of that Mapuche
population lived in Santiago, the capital of Chile, where they number 409,079
(44.04% of the total Mapuche population). This number suggests that the situation of
the Mapuche outside their historical territory is not different from that of the Arabs in
France, Kurds in Germany, and Filipinos in Singapore. However a hurried conclusion
may lead to mistaken interpretations with important political effects.
The fact remains that the Mapuche have an historical territory and that the
Mapuche population living in it is 26% of the total population in that area (not a

negligible figure). Therefore, and considering this last fact, the Mapuche are not a
national minority like the African-Americans in the U.S., Arabs in France, or Kurds in
Germany. The Mapuche are a nationality that is a minority in its own historical
territory and with regard to the total Chilean population. This is the basis upon
which, in this work, the Mapuche are alluded to as a nation and, in an attempt to avoid
redundancy, most often referred to simply as the Mapuche, with the term nation
The method adopted in this work is related to critical social theory (Neuman,
1991) as a form of understanding the Mapuche national question. This approach does
not consider history as static or unchanging, but rather "as a particular stage in an
ongoing process" (Neuman, 1991: 55). This process needs to be probed beyond the
surface to discover the real structures of national dominance and to help a dominated
nation to change these conditions.
This framework, however, is not adopted in this work in an orthodox form.
This work is influenced by as many ideas as authors I have read in order to reflect
upon the Mapuche national question in Chile. Furthermore, the research methodology
is inductive. The interpretation is built in consideration of essays, discourses, articles,
dissertations, theses, studies, and monographs listed in the bibliography. The
18 Faithful to his definition of nation, Eric Hobsbawm (1990) believes that the Mapuche are not a
nation or nationality but a proto-nation. According to Hobsbawm, proto-nation is a sense "of collective
belonging which already existed, and which could operate, as it were, potentially on the macro-
political scale..." (Hobsbawm, 1990: 46). This proto-nation can be used by states or national
movement to mobilize people.

concepts used in this research, despite the preliminary definitions above, are built at
the same time that the analysis is carried out. Finally, I have included maps and tables
in order to present a visual and statistical image of the Mapuche situation.

Two different sets of literature have helped inform the ideas expressed in this
thesis. On one hand, Chilean writings about the Mapuche, books, articles,
manuscripts, monographs, theses, and legislation, provide information about the
Mapuche people, history and struggle. On the other hand, there is a body of literature
that provides a general framework for the study of the national question. These are
writings that address the subject of ethnic conflict, the national question, or conflict
between minorities and majorities within the state for civil rights. In the following
section the principal ideas of these two sets of literature are discussed.
The Mapuche in the Chilean Social Sciences
Chilean social scientists are in disagreement about howto characterize the
Mapuche. Ricardo Hepp (1979), Eugenio Guzman (2000) as well as Sergio Villalobos
(2000) promote the idea that the Mapuche have ceased to exist as a distinct indigenous
people. According to Villalobos' nationalist-assimilationist perspective, the Mapuche
ceased to exist with their incorporation as citizens into the Chilean state. Accordingly,
today it is more appropriate to speak of Mapuche descendants, and to refer to
Mapuche national identity in the past tense.
Others Chilean social scientists believe that the Mapuche have become a
specific stratum of the subordinate classes. In other words, they have been

transformed into poor peasants, or they represent a specific stratum of the poor
peasants. In the context of the "Cold War," this was the thesis of the Chilean left.
Among others representatives of this tendency -also nationalist-assimilationist- are
Marcelo Segall (1953), Luis Vitale (1968)19 Alejandro Saavedra (1971), Bemald Jeanot
(1972), and Bernardo Berdichewsky20 (1975).
Third, there are researchers who accept the Mapuche existence, indicating that
they are a precious and endangered portion of the Chilean people. Further, the
Mapuche status within Chilean national society is denoted as an excluded indigenous
group. This humanist stream, nationalist-integrationist in character, is represented by
Aurelio Diaz Meza (1907), Leotardo Matus (1912), Jeronimo de Amberga (1913),
Gregorio Rodriguez (1952), and Anibal Barrera (1999), among others.
Finally, from the end of the 1970s until today, there are scholars who assert
that the Mapuche are an indigenous people, who constitute an ethnic or national
minority in Chile. This approach is represented by Milan Stuchlik and Wilson
Cantoni at the beginning of the 1970s, and by Jose Bengoa, Eduardo Castillo, Ivan
Babarovic, Pilar Campana, Cecilia Diaz, Esteban and Duran, and Jose Aylwin in the
1980s and 1990s. Bengoa, in particular, promotes a pluricultural society in Chile
where the indigenous cultures are respected (Bengoa, La Cuestion Indigena, 1990), but
19 Vitale has changed his position slightly over the years. Thus, in 1968 he suggests that the
indigenous people were essentially exploited as paid laborers in the context of the Spanish capitalist
conquest of America (Vitale, Latin America, 1968: 36-37). In 2000, although he still refers to the
"proletarization" of the Mapuche, he recognizes that the Mapuche struggle is distinguished by ethnic
discrimination (Vitale, Medio Milenio. 2000).
20 Berdichewsky, by 1995, had adopted a more open attitude toward Indian demands. Thus, noting
that the ideological conceptions of people coming from a non-Indian background cannot resolve the
Indian issue even with the best intentions, he has shown sympathy with Indian peoples' demands for

also a pluricultural society where the indigenous cultures respect the indivisible
character of the Chilean state. For this reason, Bengoa wrote, at the beginning of the
1990s, that the existence of diversity does not threaten the unity of the state in either
a political or social sense (Bengoa, La Cuestion Indigena, 1990: 248). Bengoa is
favorable to giving autonomy to the Mapuche (Bengoa, Desarrollo v Autonomia,
1994; Bengoa, La Cuestion Indigena, 1990), as a form of preventing the development
of more radical demands such as self-determination. Bengoa's perspective continues to
be a unilateral proposal coming from the dominant nation, and designed to maintain
control of state unity.
Recently, a fragment within the latter group has started recognizing the
Mapuche as a "proto-nation," following Eric J. Hobsbawm's ideas (1990), and as an
"ethnonation" following Walker Connor's ideas (1994). Chilean anthropologist Rolf
Foerster (1999), for example, notes that in the present political times neither the state
nor the Mapuche view Mapuche poverty in terms of a conflict between rich and poor,
but in terms of ethnic opposition.
Based on this aspect of the conflict, Foerster suggests that the state must
recognize the Mapuche as an ethnonation, putting the conflict in the national arena
rather than allowing it to move in that direction of its own accord. Thus, according to
Foerster, to avoid a heightened Mapuche demand that threatens its unity, the Chilean
state must quickly recognize its own pluri-national character, without questioning
political unity. Foerster also promotes the idea that this policy must include a face-to-
face discussion with the Mapuche about various issues, thus discharging the conflicts

that can give way at any moment to ethnic violence and hatred.
All of the above positions -with the exception of Foerster's still untried idea-
have affected Chilean state policies toward the Mapuche. Consequently, some
nonchalant attitudes accept Mapuche extinction as an intrinsic process, not as the
result of the relationships of dominance and subordination. In this case, a policy of
welfare or maintaining the status quo for the Mapuche seems the most viable option.
On the other hand, if the Mapuche are poor peasants, a specific stratum of the
poor peasants, or a specific stratum of the dominated classes, their alliance with urban
workers could offer them a better future. In this case, a structural transformation of
the capitalist society is called for, but may leave the national aspirations of the
Mapuche unaddressed.
According to the perspective of authors such as Bengoa, in which the
Mapuche are an ethnic or national minority or an excluded indigenous people, an
integrative policy with identity preservation, could presumably solve the problem.
Current initiatives to recognize the existence of the Mapuche in the Chilean
Constitution and the promotion of bilingual education in rural areas with Mapuche
population might also ensure a Mapuche political voice. It is critical to note, however,
that this perspective still represents the resolution of the problem by the dominant
state and continues to be assimilationist, though to a lesser degree.
The explanations above of the character of the relationship between the
Chilean state and the Mapuche highlight the complexity of the Mapuche issue to

Chilean social scientists. Chilean social scientists, with scarce exceptions, have never
recognized that the Adapuche are a nation or nationality different from the Chilean one
because they are constrained in a legal conception of "nation" as state. Chileans
typically think of the Mapuche as a component element of the Chilean state and -with
few exceptions- have not recognized that the Mapuche nation is dominated by the
Chilean state.
To sum up, Chilean social scientists, as well as politicians, seem to have been
left behind in the international advances of social science regarding national conflict.
At a time when the national question has become a modem topic, and states develop
policies to confront ethnic or national challenges, Chile stubbornly ignores the
Mapuche national demand. It is clear that one of the main challenges to Chilean social
scientists and politicians in the near future is to accept the idea that respect for, and
tolerance of, national diversity is a critical contemporary issue.
The National Question in the Social Sciences
The national question as a theme in the social sciences is as old as nationalism,
appearing in the mid-18th century. In the 19th century it is possible to distinguish
two distinct branches addressing the topic: Marxist thinkers on the one hand, and a
more heterogeneous group of intellectuals with several influences.
With regard to the first group, and following Helene Carrere d'Encausse, we
can distinguish three moments in the evolution of the topic: one prior to the Bolshevik
Revolution, another from the revolution until WWII, and the third after WWII. In the

first moment, figures like Marx and Engels played an influential role in wresting
importance from the topic. The framers of Marxist thought showed little interest in
the theme, because they were primarily concerned with the world transition to a
superior phase of human development: capitalism. In the capitalist phase, the
proletariat would fully develop and the socialist revolution would become possible.
Consequently, all peoples that were at "earlier" stages of human evolution had to be
assimilated into the new frame: the nation-state and bourgeois democracy.
Toward the end of the 19th century, however, this discourse lost some of its
appeal and the first socialist theories on the national question flourished. Otto Bauer
and Karl Renner introduced their theory of extra-territorial national autonomy, and
were answered by Klautsky with his evolutionist vision of the national question
which would vanish with the economic evolution of the nation-state (Carrere
d'Encausse, 1977). Finally, this first period ends with the contributions of the BUND
(Jewish Worker Union of Russia and Poland), Ber Borojov, and Stalin with his rigid
theory of the nation.
The second period was deeply marked by the Bolshevik Revolution and the
need to defend the revolution. Bolsheviks favored national self-determination of the
nations subjugated by the Russian Empire, but defined this as taking the shape of a
new union. The disintegration of the Russian Empire during the revolution was
chaotic, however, and the process did not yield options other than simply recognizing
that right. After three years of disintegration and under siege by counter-
revolutionaries, different nations sought an agreement with Bolshevik Russia. At the

same time, the incursion of Japan into Siberia (1918) and invasion by Poland (1920)
awoke Russian patriotism (officials of the Tsarist army joined the Red Army).
Russian nationalism became essential for the events that followed, such as the creation
of the Soviet Constitution (1924),21 imbued in integrationist-assimilationist ideas that
claimed that once socialism was achieved, there would be no sense in national equality
(Carrere d'Encausse, 1977).
Dissidents like Sultan Gaviev and Tusar Ryskulov were killed during these
years (1936 and 1938) because they believed that the revolution could not resolve the
national differences between one rich, dominant nation (Russia) and poor, dominated
ones. In other words, the proletariat from the dominant nation (Russians) could not be
depended on to carry out the task of national liberation, because they had inherited
the colonial spirit of the dominant classes in their societies. Soviet Muslims were
conscious of the fact that proletariat internationalism was a trap that only hid new
oppression, and for this reason they promoted Arab/Muslim communism with space
for Arab/Muslim difference (Carrere d'Encausse, 1977).22 They conceived of their
struggle not as a class struggle, but as a national struggle in all its senses: self-
Finally, in the third period, the emergence of new independent socialist states
after WWII created a new stage for the national question for socialist regimes.
21 The Soviet Constitution of 1924, 1936, and 1977 all explicitly recognize the right of all Soviet
Republics freely to secede" (Connor, National. 84: 218).
22 Other works about the national struggle of Muslim nationalism in the Soviet Union include: C.
Quelquejay Bennigsen, Les Mouvement nationaux chez les musulmans de Russie. Le sultanealievisme
au Tatarstan (Paris, La Haya: Mouton, 1960), and H. Carrere d'Encausse, Reforme et Revolution chez -
les Musulmans de lEmpire Russe. Buiara 1867-1924. (Paris: A. Colin).

Yugoslavia in 1943 and China in 1949 challenged the dominance of Russia in the
socialist world, and their independent and egalitarian attitude toward the relationship
with the Soviet Union suggested that socialism does not weaken nationalism as the
Soviet leaders were preaching. Such attitudes were very influential in the later
flourishing of contradictions within the USSR, such as the case of the Hungarian
(1956), Polish, and Czech (1968) insurrections in the 1950s and 60s.
With regard to the second branch, the non-Marxist thinkers, and following
Walker Connor's analysis (1994), several different traditions exist, of which two are
discussed here. The English tradition develops from the opposition between
assimilation and acceptance of diversity. John Stuart Mill and Ernest Barker represent
the position that favors assimilation, while Lord Acton and Alfred Cobban represent
the side of diversity (Connor, 1994).
The second tradition, the American one, is formed by social scientists that
promote the thesis of "nation-building," such as Gabriel Almond, Sidney Verba, David
Apter, Karl W. Deustch, and Lucian Pye, among others (Connor, 1994), and social
scientists like Connor. The contradiction that divides the American intellectuals is
basically the same one as in the English tradition or any other, that is, the negation of
ethnicity as an important factor in the construction of the nation, versus affirmation
of the value of ethnicity in the construction of the nation.23
From a more contemporary perspective, studies of the national question are
President Woodrow Wilson (1913-1921), who promoted self-determination in the context of the
WW I, fits into this tradition. "No peace can last or ought to last, which does not accept the principle
that governments derive all their just powers from the consent of the governed, and that no right
anywhere exists to hand peoples about from sovereignty to sovereignty as if they were property"
(Umozurike, 1972: 14). This principle, however, did not prevent American aggression against several
Latin American countries during the Wilson's administration (Vitale, 150 Afios. 1991).

commonly divided into three groups. One group includes researchers that promote a
perennialist perspective, while another includes researchers that promote a
constructivist vision. The third group is constituted by researchers who do not
recognize ethnicity as an important factor in "nation-building."
The perennialists focus more on the ethnic background of the nation, as in the
case of Stalin and Clifford Geertz (Hutchinson & Smith, 1994), deriving from this
background a national protagonism in politics. The constructivist group proposes that
the nation is a dynamic product of a complex process of political and social construc-
tion, as in the case of Smith, A. D. (1991), Stavenhagen (1996), and Connor (1994),
where the political, social and economic environment are all determinants in the deve-
lopment of the national question, and in the emergence of nationalism from which the
existence of the nation is claimed. Finally, the third group -those who focus on nation-
building- see ethnicity as a type of regionalism within the state that will disappear
with modernity, as in the case of Gabriel Almond, James S. Coleman, Karl W.
Deutsch, and William Foltz (Connor, 1994). Some of these thinkers conceive of ethnic
conflict as nonexistent, given that actors in "ethnic conflict" are really making political
choices in order to acquire "more power, land or other resources" (Bowen, 1996).
For the purpose of this thesis, ideas have been taken from both the
perennialist and the constructivist perspectives to develop the analysis. Connor
(1994) suggests that if a nation has lost its ethnic language, this does not necessarily
imply that the nation cannot raise national demands, as Stalin also noted in his time
(1913). The case of the Jewish state is a good example, given that Jews -supported

only by their religion, a constitutive element of a nation- survived and established a
state despite many centuries without a national territory or language and with a
heterogeneous population distributed across many lands (a situation that makes it
difficult to speak of the Jewish as a nation in an ethnic sense).24
There can be no guarantee, however, that the process of acculturation -forced
or not- will not end with the extinction of a nation, particularly when the language is
in play. The case of the Romans and Latin is illustrative: when the Romans
disappeared within Italy (ethnogenesis) and became today's Italian citizens, the Latin
language has fallen into disuse. Nobody claims the existence of a Roman nation today,
after centuries of Italian dominance. On the other hand, the Egyptians exchanged their
original language for Arabic without losing their Egyptian identity. Nonetheless,
preserving the language and other ethnic characteristics always is a guarantee to
develop and strengthen national identity. This is why, in any national struggle, there
is a demand to recover or maintain the ethnic language, as in the case of the Jewish
with Hebrew, the Irish with Gaelic, the Quebecois with French, and bilingualism in
many cases (the Mapuche among them).
All in all, the national question seems to be a very contemporary theme, and
indissolubly linked to the creation of the state as well as to the relationship that the
state has with nations without a state. While the state cannot be understood except as
24 In social sciences the question of whether the Jewish are a nation or not is much debated. This thesis
is not the place to resolve the debate, given that the focus is the Mapuche national question.

a process of political construction, the nation is a political and social process too, but
with roots in human cultures rather than in legal definitions. In this work, the
perspective developed tries to harmonize perennialism with constructivism. For this
reason, in the introductory overview two key ideas are mentioned in the interpretation
of the Mapuche national question: first, the national question is the result of a conflict
between a nation and a state; and second, the Mapuche identity is, in part, explained
by the relationship of dominance and subordination created by this conflict.
Contrary to the Chilean viewpoint described earlier, this thesis adopts the lens
of national conflict, following Borojov's notion (1979) that at the root of the
Mapuche-Chilean relationship lie a cultural nation and a state overlapping in a single
territory. Furthermore, the origin of the Mapuche-OcAom conflict is found in the
condition of domination of one group by the other. For this reason, it is appropriate
to speak of the Mapuche issue as a national question.
The dominant state has exploited the resources and the people of the invaded
nation, whence the national exploitation of the dominated nation was bom. National
exploitation of the dominated nation means the alienation of the Mapuche from their
productive bases (territory and lands) and their being condemned to live in poverty.
The Mapuche, robbed of their territory and lands, were put in reducciones where they
had only enough lands to avoid starvation. The only source of additional resources to
increase family incomes came at the cost of selling their labor to the Chilean colonists
of the Mapuche country. The least fortunate Mapuche, who did not receive lands in
reducciones, were condemned to sell their labor in the cities as unskilled workers.

Thus, the Mapuche national question took the form of economic exploitation
and social class confrontation. The Mapuche are exploited as laborers by the Chilean
colonists. In other words, the Mapuche share the luck of the poor Chileans. However,
the essential content of the Mapuche national question is the competition between
national entities.25 This picture is complemented, not substituted, by the competition
among the different class groups within Chilean national society.
In the present, and from an economic viewpoint, national exploitation is
difficult to distinguish from class exploitation. Nonetheless, one should not forget that
the class that exploits the Mapuche nation is part of another nation. That is, there is
no significant exploitation of the Mapuche people by other Mapuche. With regard to
this, a common characteristic of the Mapuche people today is their poverty.
Mapuche exploitation clearly includes issues related to economics, but it is
political, social, ideological, and cultural too. The Mapuche are exploited not only in
terms of their position in the Chilean capitalist productive apparatus, but also because
they are Mapuche. The Mapuche national exploitation has a strong charge of ethnic
discrimination. Subsequently, the Mapuche national question is not merely a question
of economic exploitation but rather a question of exploitation of the Mapuche as a
Finally, Mapuche national exploitation occurs in a political context, where the
25 The modem state cannot exist without a people that it claims as the nationality of the state.
Certainly, in rigor there is no true nation-state (with few exceptions), as Nietschmann ("The Third
World War," 1987) and other authors point out. However, in fact, states call their population
American, French, British, etc., and the population of the state seems to accept this identity over time
and even begin to believe in it Consequently, and even when this identity may not be majoritarian and
may conflict with other identities, it is possible to use the concept nation-state to describe states with
an advanced process of national identity as Chile.

Mapuche seek to change national oppression. National oppression occurs through
state policies that impact the entire nation-state society given that they are conceived
for the entire nation-state society.26 These policies cover issues such as the economy,
health, housing, welfare, and civil liberties, among others. The wide range of topics
addressed by such national policies gives a sense of the number of issue areas in which
national confrontation might potentially emerge to resolve the problems created by
state domination. The political programs of the dominated nation usually address
those issues {Mapuche trade-union organizations, for example), and their proposals
become part of the national demand. The organized members of the dominated nation
plan strategies and tactics for a successful national struggle, and they gain experience
in each confrontation. In the national struggle, members of the dominated nation
interchange their own experiences and transmit those experiences -as social-conceptual
capital- to new generations. Thus, political memory constitutes the substrate that
gives support to the national movement and its political militants (Rudolph &
Thompson, 1992).
26 Policies that are specifically developed for indigenous people also exist but general state policies
often impact the Mapuche without this being the original intent.

Who Are the Mapuche?
Several theories have sought to explain the origin of the Mapuche/1 The most
dubious connects the Mapuche past with a lost Greek tribe (Kilapan, 1974). In
scientific terms, two theories compete for leadership. The first is the thesis of a
settlement of the Mapuche country by primitive fishermen, who had traveled in
waves from the north to the south hundreds of years ago (Guevara, Historia, 1925).
The second thesis proposes the arrival of Moluche hunters from what is now
Argentina to Chile, during the 14th century (Latcham, 1928).
These theories have divided social scientists concerned with "Chilean
prehistory."27 28 Far from satisfying the curiosity to know the origin of the Mapuche, for
lack of evidence, they have contributed to obscuring the topic more than enlightening
it (Parentini, 1996). Without intending to enter a dispute that is not the concern of
this work, one could contend that the Mapuche as such did not come from anywhere.
27 The description of the Mapuche in this chapter is based on the accounts of non-Mapuche authors
(ethnologists, travelers, and anthropologists, among others) because there is not a tradition of literature
(scientific or literary) developed by the Mapuche until quite recently.
28 Quotation marks are used with "Chilean prehistory" because the statement is illustrative of the
appropriation of Mapuche history or prehistory by Chilean nationalism. Batalla's opinion of the
Mexicans makes sense for Chilean national mythology as well. "Nos hemos apropiado de su pasado y,
para que lo recobren, les exigimos que renuncien a su propia identidad." (Batalla, El indio. 1971: 26).
"We have appropriated their past and, in order to get it back, we require that they renounce their own

The Mapuche society and culture is the result of numerous combinations of
populations and previous cultures that in a process of ethnogenesis have yielded the
Mapuche culture, a culture that according to scholarship is clearly distinct from
approximately 900 years ago.29
Society and Culture
When the European colonists arrived in what is now central Chile, they found
a nation with a language, history, and common cultural manifestations (the historical
and sociological meaning of nation). That language and culture extended from the
Choapa river in the north to Chiloe (Chilwe island) island in the south (figure 3.1:41).
Parallel to the establishment of the Spanish colony, and even subsequent to the
emergence of the Chilean state, the influence of the Mapuche language continued to
expand northward and eastward of the Andes (dAns, 1977).
According to western standards, the pre-colonial Mapuche did not have a
political structure that joined the entire Mapuche population. That is, the Mapuche
did not use centralized forms of political power. However, during the national
Mapuche wars against the colonists (from the beginnings of colonization until the
second half of the 19th century), the Mapuche experienced political changes toward
centralized forms of political power. "Cacicato" is the name that the social scientists
have given to this new form of political structure (Guevara, Las ultimas familias.
29 According to recent archeological discoveries, human beings began to inhabit Chile 11,000 years
ago, see Tom Dillehay (1990).

The cacicatos linked important groups of Mapuche population. It is known
that at the beginning of the 19th century, la lista de caciques importantes no era muy
grande; cien caciques dominaban todo el territorio y poblacion mapuche, y de estos
100 habia unos 15 Nidol Loncos que ejercian una influencia decisiva sobre el resto31
(Bengoa, Historia del Pueblo, 1985: 64). Among the most prestigious Mapuche
cacicatos in the 19th century were the Nagche cacicato, of the eastern hillside of the
Nawelfuta mountain, governed by Colipi; the Wenteche cacicato of the western hillside
of the Andes mountain, governed by Maghinwenu; and, the Kallfukura cacicato, of
the eastern side of the Andes mountain (today the Argentinian pampas).32
The cacicato expressed the emergence of a more marked social division at the
interior of the Mapuche society. The figure of the Longko, that in the period prior to
colonization is characterized as a respected but not powerful person, with the
emergence of the cacicato is institutionalized as the apex of the Mapuche social
hierarchy. The Longko became the dominant figure in the Mapuche society. The base
in that society was occupied by the Kona, soldiers and caretakers for the material
30 This political change was strongly influenced by the new situation that confronted them, rather than
being a mechanistic copy of Spanish political structures. In this sense, the change corresponds to an
internal adjustment of the Mapuche culture in order to respond to a greater threat than they had yet
faced. The Mapuche successfully stopped the Inca invasion with the structures previously in place, but
the Spanish threat demanded broader military alliances.
31 "The list of important caciques was not very long; one hundred caciques dominated all the Mapuche
population and territory and of these 100 there were some 15 Nidol Lonkos who exercised decisive
influence over the rest." (Author's trans.)
32 With regard to this topic see the works of P. Meinrado Hux (1991 and 1992).

wealth of the Mapuche society: cattle33 34 (Bengoa, Historia del Pueblo, 1985).
Women were another stratum of the Mapuche society who, according to
Western standards, were subject to domination by Mapuche men. Smith, an American
traveling through Mapuche country during in the middle of the 19th century,
registered in his work the surprise of Magninwenu, when he learned that a woman
occupied an important public political responsibility in Europe (the queen of Spain).
"[T]he old savage was unable to comprehend that a woman could occupy any other
than a subordinate position in any well-regulated community." (Smith, E. R., 1855,
The woman's situation is also described in a narration of the death and burial
of a Longko in the pampas. Avendano (1868), describes how several women were
sacrificed during the burial ceremony. Some (32 in all) were executed, according to the
author, because they were accused of being witches, and causing the Longko's death.
Others were sacrificed because they were the Longko's wives. They were buried
together with the Longko, as were the Longko's horse and other belongings, in the
idea that they must escort the longko on his trip.
During the cacicato period, the Mapuche family has been described as an
extended family of patrilocal and patrilineal character, with the principal family (a
man, his wife or his wives, and his children), and several relatives living in the same
Ruka (Faron, Mapuche, 1961). The woman lived with her husband's kinship group
33 Cows and horses were new animals in the Mapuche country. Nonetheless, cattle-raising activity was
familiar within the Mapuche society, as in the case of llamas that the Mapuche called "weke."
34 Maybe Smith should have been less surprised by Manin's thinking, given that in the American and
Chilean societies, as well as in other societies around the world, women with important or superior
political roles were an exception, not the rule.

and the husband remained under the dominance of his father and his lineage, thus
making it a patrilocal system. In the patrilineal Mapuche family, lineage was
transmitted through the father. Marriages were permitted between people of different
lineages that were political allies.35
Upon the arrival of the colonists, the Mapuche were living in small towns.36
These pre-colonial towns were based on an economy of mixed gathering, hunting,
cattle-raising, and agriculture with mobility in the use of space (slash and bum
agriculture). With the beginning of colonization, many of these towns disappeared
from the North-center section of the Mapuche country. Nevertheless, and thanks to
the successful armed Mapuche resistance in the south-center section of the Mapuche
country, these small concentrations of population were maintained until 1883.
The Mapuche incorporated many elements of the colonial culture during the
relationship with the colonists. Among these elements, the use of the horse, and the
adoption of Western farm animals such as cattle, sheep, pigs, and poultry are
particularly important for their impact on the economy. Another important element
was the use of crops such as wheat and oats, and fruits such as grapes and apples.
European weapons, clothes, and new production techniques were also among the
cultural elements incorporated by the Mapuche. These cultural loans were controlled
by the Mapuche nation itself in the South-center section of the country. In other
35 In a certain sense, marriage was an alliance between lineages.
36 These small towns have been called caserios que no sobrepasaban la docena de rucas [ruka] (Silva
G., O., 1993: 40), and less pejoratively nucleos de poblacion [..] constituidos por pequenos grupos
de habitaciones distanciadas, aunque con alguna cohesion... (Meza, 1951: 11). ("Villages that do not
surpass a dozen rukas" ... "nucleuses of population [..] constituted by small groups of distanced
habitations, although with some cohesion...")

words, these cultural loans became part of a specifically Mapuche cultural patrimony.
The incorporated and "mapuchified" loans maintained internal coherence with the
Mapuche culture. This was the case, at least, until that coherence was broken in 1883,
when the Mapuche, militarily defeated, were incorporated into the emerging Chilean
The arrival of the Spanish and their establishment in the north-center section
of the Mapuche country, meant for the Mapuche the loss of a vast portion of
territory. That portion extended from the Choapa river in the north to the northern
shore of the Biobio river (called Futalewfu at the beginning of colonization.). In other
words, in that first expoliatory act, the Mapuche lost some 29.6 million acres, from a
total of approximately 51.5 million acres, in what is now central Chile (figure 3.1 and
Nevertheless, not all was lost. Parallel to the Spanish colonization (16th 18th
centuries) and until the first half of the 19th century, the Mapuche and their culture
crossed the Andes and extended into the territory known as the pampas of what is
now Argentina. The Mapuche expansion into the pampas meant the absorption of the
nations that inhabited this area. Such is the case of the Tewelche. That process has
been called the "araucanizacion" of the pampas (Canals Frau, La Araucanizacion.
1935; Canals Frau, Expansion, 1946). In this expansion the Mapuche-Pewenche
37 All the maps in this thesis are approximations and are included to give the reader a sense of the
proportions of the Mapuche territory.

Figure 3.1
Mapuche Territory Prior to 1541
31 S.L.
43 S.L
51.6 Millions acres
Figure 3.2
Mapuche Territory During the Colonial Period
37 S.L.
43 S.L.
21.9 millions acres

apparently played an important role. Through commercial relationships and wars
between the Tewelche and the Mapuche-Pewenche, another ethnic branch was created:
Rankelche (Bernal & Sanchez, 1988).
In the Mapuche territory -considering only the lands in Chile- the Mapuche
economy was one of subsistence, without accumulation (Bengoa & Valenzuela, 1984).
Their farm tools are often presented as proof of a rudimentary technological
development (Silva G., O., 1993). While this characterization carries with it an image
of misery, the Mapuche lands and work provided food to a quite numerous
population. It is estimated that the Mapuche country harbored approximately one
million inhabitants upon the arrival of the Spanish (Bengoa, Historia del Pueblo,
That population, given the conditions of the Mapuche country, practiced an
agriculture of forest clearings (Bengoa & Valenzuela, 1984). According to the scholars,
this agriculture prior to and at the time of colonization would have had an inventory
of approximately 50 domesticated vegetables. Among those vegetables were gourds,
chilis, com, beans, teca, quinoa, potatoes, peanuts and madi (Silva G., 0.,1993).
Furthermore, Mapuche agriculture was associated with gathering, hunting, and herding.
The exploitation of the land was carried out within the cacicato's domain, in
which life did not follow a rigid pattern of residence (there was no idea of a fixed
town). That is, the dispersion and mobility of the population was never completely
lost. The Chilean anthropologist Aldo Vidal has written.

La actividad economica, y la relation con la naturaleza de los linajes mapuches,
los convertia en grupos trashumantes, es decir, se movian por su territorio de
manera de ocupar economicamente y demograficamente solo un espacio de el,
durante un cierto periodo de anos; posteriormente otro espacio,
posteriormente otros, etc.; de manera que un linaje o un grupo de ellos solo en
un ciclo de muchos anos completaba una rotation y uso de todo su territorio.
Esta forma de ocupacion y uso del espacio permitia la protection y renovation
de los recursos naturales, incluido el suelo, y la tierra en general (Vidal, 1992:
As a result of the relationship with the colonists, new vegetable species were
incorporated into the Mapuche domestic economy, as mentioned before. Also
important was the incorporation of previously unknown animals, such as horses,
cattle, sheep, pigs, and poultry. In the case of the horse, its rapid reproduction caused
important changes in Mapuche society.39
Toward the 17th century, herding (cattle and horses) became the primary
Mapuche economic activity. Herding reached its maximum development in the mid-
18th century, and its predominance as an economic activity was extended until the
mid-19th century. The Mapuche herding economy is associated with an era of
splendor and accumulation of wealth by the Mapuche society. Given its orientation
toward trade with the Spanish colonial market (Leon, 1990), the Mapuche herding
economy was divorced from the pre-colonial economy, which was exclusively
38 The economic activities and the relationship with nature of the Mapuche lineages made them
transhumant groups, that is, they moved within their territory in such a manner that they would make
economic and demographic use of only one portion of the territory in a certain period of years, after this
another, etc.; in this way, a lineage or group would only in a cycle of several years complete a rotation
and use of all its territory. This form of occupation and use of space allowed for the protection and
renovation of natural resources, including the soil, and the land in general. (Author's trans.)
39 Given the abundance of grasses, the animals that escaped in the confusion of a battle could reproduce
easily as wild horses and cattle. The English traveler, George Muster, wrote a fascinating description of
wild horse stampedes in the Argentinian pampas (1870).

subsistence. In this form, the Mapuche were partially inserted into the colonial
mercantile economy, trading part of their production and consuming the rest. As stock
owners, the Mapuche showed a great commercial ability, moving large quantities of
animals from one side of the Andes to the other (Mandrini, 1988; Leon, 1990).
The fundamental Mapuche beliefs are founded on a paradigm different from
the Western one (Grebe, Pacheco & Segura, 1972). With regard to the Mapuche idea of
the cosmos, it is said that they conceive it as a series of seven platforms following a
rigorous hierarchy (Grebe, et al, 1972; Grebe, Meli, 1994). The highest platform
would be the habitat of Ngenechen, the most important Mapuche God. Ngenechen it
is not an unipersonal God, but a family of Gods. This idea of God includes a parent-
couple and a child-couple. That is, two women and two men, two elders and two
youths (Grebe, et al, 1972; Grebe, Meli, 1994).
Beneath this god family, in the following platforms, are located other smaller
divinities and the spirits of prestigious Mapuche ancestors. The second to the last
platform represents the earth, the Mapuche homeland. This homeland is cardinally
divided into four parts, with the East being the most revered geographical point (it is
the place where the sun appears -Grebe, Meli, 1994). In the Mapuche homeland, the
North represents evil. Historically, the Incan invasion as well as the beginning of the
national war against the Spaniards, are associated with foreigners coming from the
North. Also, in the southern hemisphere, bad weather is associated with the action of

the North wind. The last platform represents life underground (Grebe, et al, 1972;
Grebe, Meli, 1994).
In Mapuche religious life, different people fulfilled mediating roles among the
divinities or spirits and the human being. Some authors recall characters such as the
man of the Foye tree (Nakashima, 1995).40 Other figures such as the Machi still
persist today. The Rewe,41 a ceremonial altar where the Machi ascends to communicate
with the Mapuche divinity, represents the Mapuche cosmos. The kultrung, the
ceremonial drum of the Machi, represents the Mapuche country or homeland (Grebe,
El Kultrun, undated).
The Mapuche founding myth speaks of the struggle between two gigantic
serpents (Kai-KaiFilu and Treng-Treng Filu) that represent good and evil. The first
one demands sacrifices from the Mapuche and is responsible for earthquakes,
tsunamis, and other natural catastrophes. The other serpent rescues the Mapuche
from the fury of the evil one and provides them adequate conditions for their existence
(Guevara, Folklore, 1911).
The Mapuche take their family names from an association with a natural
element. This is the Kuga or lineage (similar to the totem among North American
Indian nations), although there was not necessarily a correspondence among the names
of members of the same lineage (Smith, The Araucanians, 1855; Cox, 1863). Thus, the
current Mapuche surnames express an alliance with Manke, Nanku, Filu, Kura, and
40 The foye tree is the "canelo" or "drimitris winteri" tree which is considered sacred in the Mapuche
culture and used in religious ceremonials.
41 Typically, the rewe is the trunk of a tree, carved with steps like a stair. It has a total of seven steps
with the last one buried underground. The following one, number six, remains at ground level and it
represents the Mapuche land. The rest are different levels in the Mapuche cosmos.

others, institutionalized during the Mapuche incorporation into the Chilean state and
answering the requirement to establish surnames according to the Chilean civil system.
Who Are the Chileans?
The Spanish colonists made their first exploratory raid into Mapuche territory
in 1536, but it was not until 1541 that they established a permanent colony in the
North-center section of the Mapuche country (the current city of Santiago).42 That
colony grew in the following years, as a result of the arrival of more colonists.
The Colonial Society in the Origin of the Chileans
The relationship that the colonists established with the Mapuche-Pikunche43
was a relationship characterized by military conquest. The colonists subjugated the
Mapuche-Pikunche, despoiled their lands, and imposed their political authorities and
institutions on them. In other words, the colonists established themselves as the
politically dominant caste through conquest, and exploited the Mapuche-Pikunche.
The Mapuche-Pikunche, through this political and military domination and -in
addition- economic exploitation, became a conquered population, and a colonized
population at the interior of the colonial society. From this point forward, the
Mapuche were transformed socially and politically into the Chilean conception of
42 The city of Santiago was founded in 1541. From that time, Santiago was the political and military
core of the Spanish territorial colonization of the Mapuche Country.
43 The word pikun means "north" in mapudugun The term Mapuche-Pikunche, thus, means
"Northern Mapuche," referring to the Mapuche people living north of the Biobio River, according to
non-Mapuche social scientists.

The situation above established the precedent for the future, that the colonial-
Mapuche-Pikunche relationship would be a relationship of colonial domination and
subordination. The invading nation, the Spaniards, was constituted as a dominant
caste over the Mapuche-Pikunche population. The same pattern was not followed in
the south-center section of the Mapuche country. When the colonists attempted to
conquer that space, they found a greater resistance. Within 10 years after the
foundation of Santiago, the first Spanish governor in the Mapuche country was
militarily defeated and executed by the Mapuche in 1553.
Pedro de Valdivia's death encouraged a greater rivalry and hostility between
colonists and Mapuche. The colonists attempted to punish the death of Valdivia
with new armed raids on the Mapuche country. For 40 years they went into the
south-center area, establishing forts and subjugating part of the Mapuche population
to the encomienda and mita system,44 45 but this yielded only unexpected and
undesirable results. The Mapuche rose in a national war of resistance against the
conquest. That war would involve the entire Mapuche population, and in its process
the Mapuche would develop successful forms of military coordination between highly
successful family lineages.46
In 1598, a second Spanish governor, Ignacio de Loyola, met the same luck as
44 Pedro de Valdivia, considered the founder of the Spanish colony of Chile, was a cruel conquistador.
He had the sad criminal record of killing and mutilating countless Mapuche. Usually, the official
Chilean state ceremony to celebrate October 12 -"dia de la raza"- is held in front of the monument to
Valdivia in Santiago city.
45 The "encomienda" was the agricultural work that the Indians were forced to do for the "encomendero"
. The "mita" was the Indian forced labor in gold mining for the "encomendero" (Korth, 1968).
46 There are numerous histories of Chile that discuss at length the "Araucanian War" because it
fascinates the Chileans and supports the myth of the invincible Mapuche warrior. Encina's mammoth
work includes several volumes about the Spanish colony and the war with the Mapuche (1955).

the first. The Mapuche country became known as the cemetery of the Spaniards
(Campos, 1975). From the beginning of the conquest and colonization of the Mapuche
country to the end of the Spanish colonialism, about 50 thousand Spaniards lost their
lives in the Mapuche country (Campos 1975). That is, more Spaniards died in the
Mapuche country than in the conquest of all the rest of the Americas.
The military ability of the Mapuche polarized the colonialist society into two
sectors. On one side were those that continued promoting violence in the colonization
of the Mapuche country. And, on the other side, were those who appealed to less
radical methods. Temporarily, one group prevailed over the other, as occurred at the
end of the 16th century. At that time, the scenery of destruction of the towns
founded in the south-center section of the Mapuche country favored the second
perspective and negotiations of peace were established between colonists and
In the mid- 17th century, peace negotiations -calledparlamentos47- were
convened by mutual accord and held both in the Mapuche country -typically hosted
by important Mapuche leaders- and in Spanish colonial towns such as Valdivia and
Santiago. The parlamentos were the culmination of a larger process of negotiation
with the objective of improving relations between the colonists and the Mapuche. The
event included a broad spectrum of thousands of participants, including Spanish
government authorities, longkos, missionaries, and merchants. The parlamentos were
held when the situation demanded -when border tensions were elevated- and provided
47 Chilean historians are divided with regard to the importance of the parlamentos. Thus, while
Villalobos and Estelle qualify these events as "curious" (Villalobos & Estelle, La Colonia Siglo XVII.
1980), Leon presents them as significant in the MapMC^e-Spanish relationship (Leon, 1986).

a space not only for negotiation but also for sharing food, drink, and revelry. It is
disputed whether the parlamento of Quilin in 1641 (Villalobos & Estelle, 1980) or the
parlamento of Negrete in 1771 (Leon, 1986) has the highest relevancy, but at the
latter Spain recognized Mapuche independence and established a political and military
alliance between the Spanish and Mapuche.
In these parlamentos a frontier between colonists and Mapuche was
recognized and ratified.48 49 The colonial domination of the north-center area of the
Mapuche country was recognized by the Mapuche, while the colonists recognized the
south-center section of the Mapuche country as an independent Mapuche territory
(the territory between the Biobio river and Chilwe island). Nevertheless, the peace
bom of the parlamentos must be understood through the filter of the Clausewitzian
conception of war: "politics by other means" (Holsti, 1996). The political and
religious Spanish authorities had not renounced the idea of mastering the Mapuche and
imposing their order upon them. The peace promoted by the colonial authorities in
the parlamentos was simply war by other means.50
As noted before, the structure of the colonial society built in the north-center
section of the Mapuche country recognized the encomendero at its apex, in the same
way that it recognized the Indian at its base. At the same time that the Indians were
48 During the parlamento of Negrete (1771) 1,431 cows and 22,833 liters of wine were consumed
(Leon, 1986).
49 During the parlamento of Kellefi the border between Spanish and Mapuche was fixed at the Biobio
50 The Jesuit initiatives to promote peace with the Mapuche ought to be understood as a conquest by
other means, that is, conquest through religious conversion and adaptation to the new colonists' modus

experiencing extinction within the colonial society, the mestizos began to appear.
Social stratification became more complex. An aristocracy of Spanish mestizos and
Spaniards bom in the conquered part of the Mapuche territory was located at the
top,51 replacing the old Spanish encomendero, while the mestizos with more Indian
aspects and the Indians continued to form the base until the 19th century.
Miscegenation was the constitutive element of the future Chilean population.
The following quotes help to show some of the conditions that allowed for misce-
genation. Factores tales como el reducido numero de mujeres espanolas que viajan a
Chile durante el siglo XVI (en 1583 habia 50 espanolas por 1.100 soldados) habrian
facilitado y acelerado el proceso52 (Albizu, 1994) Another Chilean historian adds:
Estos contados matrimonios son notas aisladas en el medio de centenares de
familias formadas por la union, al margen de la iglesia, de los soldados
espanoles con una o varias indias, en las cuales han engendrado numerosos
hijos mestizos. Estas uniones no constituyen una familia en sentido religioso ni
en el derecho estricto; pero la constituyen sociologicamente. El soldado la
reemplaza facilmente por una u otra, al azar de sus andanzas y de su capricho;
y ella habituada al regimen de la poligamia, recibe a la recien llegada
exactamente como lo hubiera hecho dentro del matrimonio aborigen, cuando no
quedaba enteramente abandonada (Encina, 1955:417-418).53
51 They were called "indianos" or "criollos" and they were more white than other mestizos.
62 Factors such as the limited number of Spanish women who traveled to Chile during the 16th
century (in 1583 there were 50 Spanish women for every 1,100 soldiers) would have facilitated and
hastened this process. (Author's trans.)
53 These few marriages are isolated cases among the many hundreds of families created by union,
outside the church ritual, among Spanish soldiers with one or more Indian women, with whom they
have engendered numerous mestizo children. These unions do not constitute a family in either a
religious sense or in a strict legal sense, but sociologically they do. The soldier easily replaces her
with another woman, according to his wanderings and caprice; and she, accustomed to the regime of
polygamy, receives the newly arrived woman exactly as she would have done within an aboriginal
marriage, if she was not left completely abandoned. (Author's trans.)

Miscegenation, however, was not only the product of the absence of Spanish
women. It also obeyed a colonial policy of abuse and rape of Indian women as an
ingredient of domination. It is through the Wingka semen that the Indian can be
redeemed (Anderson, 1991). Because of this, the colonist Francisco de Aguirre -who
was accused of begetting more than fifty children from Indian women- was defended
from moralist accusations of the era, with the argument that, [s]e hace mas servicio a
Dios en hacer mestizos que el pecado que en ello se hace54 (Encina, 1955: 40).
The colonists made good use of the mestizos to continue the colonial war. The
mestizo men were usually soldiers in the colonial army, and mestizo women were the
wives for the soldiers (Encina, 1955).
The Colonial Mercantile Economy in the Origin of the Chileans
Although at first the colonists' leitmotiv was to make swift earnings through
gold panning, the appropriation, allotment, and plunder of the Mapuche-Pikunche
property offered equal or better benefits. Spanish colonization was characterized by
the material theft oiMapuche property and exploitation of Mapuche labor. The
Mapuche, as a nation, were deprived of the north-center section of the Mapuche
country. As a segment of the population living in the occupied north, the Mapuche-
Pikunche were entirely deprived of their lands. The exploitation of gold and land
resources -taken from the Mapuche-Pikunche- was carried out with the labor of the
Mapuche-Pikunche. The Mapuche-Pikunche, as well as the Mapuche captives from
54 One does greater service to God in making mestizos than the sin committed in making them.
(Author's trans.)

the war in the south, were relegated to forms of slave labor within the colonial system.
The encomienda was the legalistic mechanism by which the Mapuche-
Pikunche were incorporated into the colonial system. The encomienda, characterized
as a work and protection system of the Indians, meant the delivery of a Mapuche-
Pikmche to an encomendero -a soldier or other Spanish authority- in order to serve
him. A Chilean historian wrote, "el trabajo encomendado alcanzaba un mayor relieve
durante el siglo XVI. Las empresas economicas de mas alta envergadura pertenecian a
los encomenderos y estaban abastecidas por mano de obra proveniente de la
encomienda. "(Jara, Trabajo, 1987: 23)55 However, the encomienda was not the only
activity where the colonists used Mapuche-Pikwnche labor. The same historian
[P]ero la realidad establece que este sector de la sociedad espanola no tenia la
exclusividad de la actividad economica, sino por el contrario, individuos
marginados del privilegio que significaba la posesion de las encomiendas,
experimentaban tambien la necesidad de trabaj adores para las empresas que
habian puesto en marcha. La gama de tales actividades comprendia
explotaciones agricolas y ganaderas, transportes maritimos y terrestres,
artesanias, obrajes, comercio, e incluso el simple servicio domestico (Jara,
Trabajo, 1987: 23).56
The encomienda was considered a form of taxation of the Mapuche, who as
55 "The work in encomienda achieved its peak during the XVI century. The most important economic
enterprises belonged to the encomenderos, and they were supplied by laborers coming from the
encomienda." (Author's trans.)
54 But reality establishes the fact that this sector of Spanish society did not have an exclusive interest
in this economic activity, rather, people who were marginalized from the privilege represented by
having an encomienda, were also faced with the need for laborers for the enterprises that they founded.
The range of such activities covered agriculture, cattle raising, sea and land transport, crafts, ironwork,
trade, and even simple domestic services" (author's trans).

subjects of the Spanish kings, paid tribute to the kings by way of services to the
encomendero (Estelle, 1983). Legislation supposedly protected the Mapuche from the
abuses of the encomenderos, but, with legislation or without it, abuses flourished. The
continuous revolts that occurred from the beginnings of the encomxenda are explained
by that fact (Estelle, 1993).
The Origins of Chilean Identity
The early antecedent of the origin of the Chilean nation-state society is the
colonization of the north-center section of the Mapuche country, as well as the
colonial system of oppression of the Mapuche-Pikunche. Among the ideological
supports of that system were religious intolerance and racism.
Religious intolerance had escalated in Europe from the Beziers massacre in the
13th century in France. Racism made a first public appearance in embryonic state in
the first judgment of the Inquisition in 1480, when the factor of blood purity or clean-
liness of blood was considered in the deliberations to discover heretics (Hannaford,
1996). In addition, those ideas were complemented by the debate between Gines
Sepulveda and Las Casas with respect to the human or animal condition of the Indians
(Korth, 1968; Hanke, 1974). This discussion was transferred to Chile not as an
academic controversy, but as a political struggle over the imposition of genocidal
policies -Indians were not human but exploitable beasts- or ethnocidal policies -Indian
humanity could be revealed through conversion to Christianity, ensuring the utility of
Indians to colonists.

Thanks to the weight of both of these ideas in colonial society, the Mapuche-
Pikunche -and Mapuche in general- could never enter the colonial system of
oppression beyond the role of cheap labor assigned to them. The Mapuche-Pikunche
experienced the Spanish-European colonization more than other Mapuche. By way of
the encomienda and the mita they suffered the disruption of their society, displace-
ment, and relocation. As colonized subjects, the Mapuche-Pikunche lived where the
colonists deemed convenient, according to their needs, interests, and economic
expectations. Because of this, the Mapuche-Pikunche disappeared from history. The
Mapuche-Pikunche were eliminated physically -genocide as a consequence of
participating in revolts- through excessive work, diseases, and miscegenation.57
The Mapuche-Pikunche genocide, the diseases that colonists transmitted, and
the great national war against the colonists brought a drastic decrease of the Mapuche
population. Three hundred and sixty-six years after of the arrival of the colonists, a
Chilean census enumerated the Mapuche population at barely above 100,000,10% of
the estimated population immediately before European arrival.
37 Notwithstanding the Mapuche-Pikunche genocide, some representatives of that branch of the
Mapuche family remained until the 19th century. Los datos establecidos por el censo de 1813 fijan
para el obispado de Santiago una ciffa de 23.153 indios, separados por completo de las categorias
mestizos y mulatos, y para el obispado de Concepcion 22.299 indios mas, lo que da para la region
situada al norte del Bio-bio 48.452 indigenas que evidentemente los empadronadores clasificaron como
tales por que no lies merecia dudas." (Jara, Legislation. 1956. 14). (The numbers established by the
1813 census set a number of 23,153 Indians for the diocese of Santiago, and 22,299 more for the
diocese of Concepcion, yielding a total of 48,452 in the region north of the Bio-bio, which evidently
the census takers classified as Indians because they had no doubt of it. -Author's trans.)

La cifra total de los indios araucanos, asi considerados, resulta ser, segun el
Censo, de 101.118 individuos, repartidos en el enorme territorio que se
extiende entre el Bio-Bio y el golfo de Reloncavi, pero muy principalmente en
las provincias deMalleco, Cautin y Valdivia. (Comision Central Censo, 1912,
Apparently, the greatest loss of Mapuche lives was produced in the first
decades of colonization. According to an analysis on indigenous policy in Chile
written in the 1950s, it is possible to observe how, beginning with the third and fourth
decade of colonization, indigenous labor was increasingly scarce where colonization
had been consolidated (Meza, 1951). Several times after 1670, the colonists suggested
to the Spanish political authorities the introduction of black slaves to replace the
Indians. Furthermore, indigenous traffic into Chile from Peru (yanaconas) and the
pampas on the Eastern side of the Andes is another symptom of the decrease of the
Indian population. That was the picture in 1810, when civil war between colonists
brought the independence in 1818.
The independence of the colonists from Spain (February 12,1818) meant their
emancipation as people serving the colonial metropolis. But the colonized Mapuche-
Pikimche continued living under a colonial relationship. There was no political
independence for the Indian. The Mapuche-Pikmche saw their colonization
perpetuated when the colonial relationships established by Spain were not abolished
during the independence of the criollo colonists. The few Mapuche-Pikunche
survivors were inserted as Indians until their assimilation in the new political entity:
58 The total number of Araucanian Indians, thus considered, turns out to be, according to the census,
101,118 people, distributed throughout an enormous territory which extends between the Biobio river
and the Reloncavi gulf, but principally in the Malleco, Cautin and Valdivia provinces." (Author's

the Chilean state. Likewise, this population was inserted into a new society, the
Chilean nation-state society, in which its situation of social subordination did not
change. As a consequence of being considered and treated as Indian, the Mapuche-
Pikmche saw the colonial relationship perpetuated under the form of internal
colonialism. This same sort of relationship was extended to the south-center section
of the Mapuche country after the definitive defeat and incorporation of the Mapuche
in 1883.
The independence achieved by the criollo colonists of the Mapuche country
and their mestizo descendants set the bases for the origin of Chilean nationality. As a
Chilean historian has said, [a] partir de las guerras de la independencia, y luego de las
sucesivas guerras victoriosas del siglo XIX, se ha ido constituyendo un sentimiento y
unaconcienciapropiamentenacionales, lachilenidad"59 (Gongora, 1992: 38). In
other words, before independence there were only subjects of the kings of Spain who
expressed a love of the Mapuche country in regionalist terms, but never in terms of
nationality (in the cultural sense). Villalobos and Estelle wrote the same idea in the
following terms:
Durante el ultimo siglo colonial los sentimientos lugarenos y la identification
del criollo con el suelo natal tomaron el caracter de una plena conciencia, que
sin ser antagonica aparentemente con el ambito espanol, marcaba el valor
intimo de lo propio. (Villalobos and Estelle, El Ultimo Siglo Colonial, 1988:
59 Beginning with the Wars of Independence, and after the successive victorious wars of the 19th
century, a truly 'national' feeling and conscience of "chilenity" has been built. (Author's trans.)

Consequently, the Chilean national identity is a quite recent one. In its origin,
the Chilean nation is not an ethnic nation, and its identity is not an ethnic identity. As
we have seen, its antecedents go back to the arrival of the Spanish colonists to the
Mapuche country, and the establishment of Spanish colonial society. Chile, as a state,
and the Chileans, as a state identity, are an invention. That invention has its origin in a
colonial process that concluded with the political emancipation of the criollo colonists
and mestizos. Consequently, Chilean identity is a political identity, or in other words,
the Chileans are a political nation. The Chilean nationality has been formed by a state
that has preceded it (Gongora, 1992: 37).
At present -according to the 1992 census- the Chilean nation constitutes
91.3% of the total population of Chile. With that volume of population, the Chilean
nation is the most numerous nation of Chile. Furthermore, the Chilean nation is the
dominant nation in Chile, and is responsible for the continuity of the relationships of
colonial domination in Chile (under the form of internal colonialism) with regard to the
Mapuche nation as well as others (Aymaras, Rapanuis, and Kawaskars).
All in all, the Mapuche have achieved a demographic resurgence. In the present
and according to the 1992 Chilean national census, the Mapuche represent 9.6% of the
Chilean population. Alone, the Mapuche represent 92.8% of the total population
60 During the last colonial century the sense of belonging and the identification of the creole with the
soil where they were bom took the character of complete conscience, that without being apparently
incompatible with the Spanish, marked the intimate value of something of one's own. (Villalobos and
Estelle, El Ultimo Siglo Colonial. 1988: 322)

living under relationships of internal colonialist oppression or nation-state domina-
tion. Consequently, and based on their sociological weight as well as the history of the
invention of the Chilean nation-state, the most important national conflict in Chile is
expressed in the Chilean-Mapuche relationship.

The war of domination and incorporation, relocation in reducciones, Chilean
indigenous laws, and imposed Chilean citizenship are among the most prominent
Chilean political initiatives to assimilate the Mapuche. The following chapter briefly
summarizes the history and ongoing implications of these political initiatives, and
considers whether the tendency is to favor Mapuche assimilation or Mapuche identity
The War of Conquest and Domination
Through armed resistance, the greater part of the Mapuche population was
able to maintain its independence until 1883. In the same manner, the Mapuche
population could exercise sovereignty over a territory recognized until today as
Mapuche (Chileans even today call the Mapuche territory "La Frontera" and "La
Araucania"). That territory is Region IX of Chile plus the border areas in Regions VIII
and X (Tirua, Santa Barbara, Pangipullii, San Jose de la Mariquina).61 During at least
the first two decades of the 19th century, that territory did not experience many
61 Until 1820, the Mapuche controlled the province of Arauco in Region VUI (on the coast south of
Biobio), Region IX, and all of Region X, but in 1820 the Chileans established themselves in Valdivia
(on the coast close to the southern border of Region IX), and in the 1850s they started the colonization
of the southern border of the Mapuche territory (La Union, Llanquihue, and Puerto Montt). During
those years approximately three thousand Germans were located in that area (Collier & Satere, 1997).
Currently some patches of Mapuche-Williche population live in San Juan de la Costa and Ranco (in
the middle of Region X, toward the coast and the Andes Mountain), and part of Chilwe island (the
southern limit of the Mapuche territory prior to Chilean incorporation).

alterations. However, after this time, the intrusion of Chilean colonists began to
present a major problem (figure 4.1).62
During his trip through the Mapuche country in 1845, the Polish scientist
Ignacio Domeyco noted the Chilean invasion of the Biobio river border region. The
process of Chilean infiltration into the Mapuche Country has been called
"colonization espontanea" (spontaneous colonization), by Domeyco (1992) and after
him a great number of Chilean social scientists. But it could also be designated as a
deliberate state policy of consummated facts. In other words, the Chilean state
permitted and promoted such "spontaneous" colonization. This fact was clearly
perceived by Orelie Antoine de Tounens, who wrote the following.
Chile provoca a los araucanos de varias formas: 1 Por usurpation. Permite e
incita, si es necesario, a individuos para que se establezcan mas alia de la
ffontera, en territorio araucano, con el fin de excitar a los indios para que los
saqueen y tener asi un pretexto para avanzar la ffontera (Tounens, 1877).63
In that fraudulent and sinister game of advance, spoliation, and Chilean aggres-
sion against the Mapuche, and self defense and aggression on the part of the
Mapuche,the Chilean state was involved on the side of the "spontaneous" colonists.
Map 4.1 does not reflect the evolution of Chilean property in the Mapuche territory in Region X
(Valdivia, La Union, Puerto Montt, Llanquihue, and Osomo). This map is based on the assumption
that the colonization was a gradual process: the arrival of some colonists did not necessarily mean state
appropriation of a large section of the Mapuche territory, as we can read in Chilean history. At the
beginning of the colonization process the founding of a new town meant no more than state control of
the town itself and the land surrounding it. The appropriation of the rest of the land is a process which
is still not fully concluded.
63 Chile provokes the Araucanians in several ways: first, by usurpation. Chile permits and incites, if it
is necessary, the establishment of individuals beyond the borders, in Araucanian territory, with the
motive of exciting the Indians to sack them and in this way to create a pretext for advancing the border
(Tounens, 1877).


In 1861, the Chilean state started definitive military operations to defeat the Mapuche
resistan-ce. In 1883, the Chileans finally defeated the Mapuche. As a result, the
Mapuche lost their independence and sovereignty over their territory and they were
politically in-corporated into the new Chilean state. The military defeat of the
Mapuche transfor-med them into a conquered nation and involved a major break in
Mapuche history.
The Mapuche Relocation to Reducciones
The political incorporation developed by the Chilean state destroyed the
traditional Mapuche political structures. The cacicato, which represented the greatest
achievements of unity and political centralism of the preincorporation period, began
to disappear. Probably the last manifestation of survival of the cacicato political
structure was the parliament realized by the Mapuche in Koz-Koz (1907),64 where
approximately twenty reservations, with ten or more Longko per reservation,
participated. Those Longko were the governors of an area covering nearly one
thousand square miles, including the territoiy between Villarrica and Pangipulli to the
west (approximately 20.6 square miles), and Purulon and Argentina to the east
(approximately 50.4 miles).
The journalist Aurelio Diaz detailed the protocol that existed among the
remaining L ongko of the cacicato Mapuche society (Diaz M., A., 1907). Mapuche
political hierarchy, according to Diaz Meza, was complex, with different levels of
64 Koz-koz is located in the Andes mountain, in the comuna of Pangipulli (Panguipulli) Region X of
Chile, bordering Region IX (essentially the Mapuche country). Pangipulli is considered part of the
Mapuche country claimed by some Mapuche in the present.

political roles. The Mapuche pyramid of political power placed the principal Longko
at the top, followed by subordinate Longko, captains, the Kallfiimalen, sergeants,
Trutrukatukaman, Kona, and other subordinates in general (women, for example).
The principal Longko had authority over issues common to all the Longko
that recognized him as leader, such as the defense of the Mapuche border against
colonial aggression. In this role he could request soldiers, supplies, and guns from each
subordinate Longko. However, he did not have power over issues internal to each
Longko jurisdiction, where the subordinate Longko was the ruler of his extended
family, allies, and followers.
Captains, Kallfumalen, sergeants, and Trutrukatukaman were part of the staff
of the Longko. Captains were officials that carried the flag of the group (standard-
bearers), took care of the Kallfumalen, and marched in front of the Longko and the
group when they were moving. The Kallfumalen was a pubescent or pre-pubescent
girl that was present together with the flag of the Longko jurisdiction in any ceremo-
ny. The Kallfumalen65 gave commands regarding ritual ceremonies, playing a role close
to a Machi in the Lelfimche area (prairie area). The sergeants were the emissaries of
the Longko to the Konas (soldiers) or subordinates. They were the custodians of the
internal order. In this role they could punish people acting inappropriately. Finally,
the Trutrukatukaman were the buglers of the group, under the sergeants' command.
However, from the moment of political incorporation on, the Mapuche had to
relate to the Chilean state as individuals or Chilean citizens (Faron, The Mapuche
Reservation, 1967) rather than as an organized society. The Mapuche were trans-
65 The Kallfumalen held a respected role and typically married a Longko's son when older.

formed into Chilean "citizens" without even being notified of this fact and without
having given their consent. The incorporation decrees are prior to the Mapuche
military defeat, as indicated in the following example.
El sistema liberal que ha adoptado Chile no puede permitir que esa portion
preciosa de nuestra especie continue en tal estado de abatimiento. Por lo tanto
declaro que para lo sucesivo deben ser llamados ciudadanos Chilenos. (Jara,
Legislation, 1956)66
The Mapuche political incorporation was realized through the Mapuche
relocation onto reducciones (Jara, Legislation, 1956; Stuchlik, Sistema, 1970s;
Babarovic et al., 1987), which numbered 3,078 in a period of 43 years from 1884 to
1927 (Bengoa, Historia del Pueblo, 1985). Some 77,751 Mapuche were "benefited"
with lands in reducciones (table 4.1, figure 4.2),67 and it has been postulated that
about a third of the Mapuche population did not receive anything (Bengoa, Historia
del Pueblo, 1985). It is in those reducciones where a new political, social, and
organizational Mapuche reality is bom (Jara, Legislation, 1956) that will differ qua-
litatively from the pre-reduccion period (Faron, The Mapuche Reservation,1967)
The difference is found in the constitution of the reduccion, which though
respectful of kinship bonds (blood relatives), did not strictly follow that Mapuche
principle. Numerous reducciones incorporated groups of Mapuche population from
different bloodlines, remnants of groups scattered by the war. Thus, the Mapuche
46 "The liberal system adopted by Chile cannot permit that this precious portion of our species should
continue in such a state of weakness. Therefore I declare that henceforth they should be called Chilean
citizens." (Jara, Legislation, 1956)
67 In this map only the Mapuche reducciones in Region IX appear.

Table 4.1 Merced Titles
Province Merced titles Acres People Acre p/p
Arauco 66 17,584 1,912 9
Biobio 6 1,628 112 14
Malleco 350 206,932 11,512 18
Cautin 2.102 783,615 56,938 14
Valdivia y Osomo 552 164,849 7,261 23
Llanquihue 2 207 16 13
Total 3,078 1,174,817 77,751 15.1
Source: Benaoa, Jose. 0987). Historia del Pueblo Maouche. Santiago, Chile: Ediciones SUR.


leadership had to be based less on kinship than it was during the pre-reduction era.
The role of the Longko was strengthened in some aspects and weakened in others.
It was strengthened in the sense that the Mapuche were immobilized in a space
recognized as the Longko'?, jurisdiction. Therefore, the Mapuche population looked to
him to resolve their conflicts. Furthermore, the government authorities sought to
communicate with the residents of the reduction through the Longko (and in its first
attempts to divide the reduction lands the state tried to extort the Longko, tempting
them with profit and privileges), thus making the Longko a critical link with the state.
At the same time, however, the role of the Longko was weakened because many
things were now beyond the Longko's jurisdiction. For example, the sanction of
crimes was now attributed to the judicial power of the state. In simpler terms, the
common Mapuche no longer needed the Longko to solve part of his/her matters,
because the Chilean state had usurped his authority (Stuchlik, Rasgos, 1974).
Later, the infiltration of the Catholic Church (establishment of Christian
communities), political parties (creation of headquarters), pressure groups {Mapuche
trade unions, among others), schools, rural medical services, etc. created new
leadership inside the reducciones. The role of the Longko would be supplanted by
models copied from the oppressive state (though "mapuchized"), models that stressed
the political atomization of the Mapuche society (Stuchlik, Rasgos, 1974). Thus, the
Longko was reduced to purely ceremonial matters. As a result, the Mapuche lost
political and social cohesion, and they faced the challenge of living under state
domination as individual citizens.

The process of Mapuche relocation in reducciones eroded the idea of a
Mapuche cacicato in the Mapuche psyche. Thus, the Mapuche struggle to defend the
Mapuche territory and independence in preincorporation times evolved into a defense
of the lands in the reduccion in the 20th century: a defense of lands as small atomized
units, with little or no coordination among them. Worse still, that struggle evolved into
a defense of small, destitute properties within the reducciones against other Mapuche.
The danger of usurpation came from the exterior not only under the form of rapacious
Chileans, but also in the form of boundary disputes within the reduccion. Given these
facts, the political fragmentation of the Mapuche community deepened, all to the
benefit of the Chilean state.
The Chilean Indigenous Laws
Chilean historian Alvaro Jara recognized in 1956 the prevalent difficulty of
determining the nature of indigenous law. In his work on indigenist legislation, Jara
offered a dossier with more than 70 laws influencing on the Chilean indigenous people
(Jara, Legislation, 1956). Nevertheless, those who have followed the road opened by
Jara have emphasized that only a few laws within the many offered by this author
could clearly be called indigenous laws (Aylwin, LaTierra, 1988; Castillo, 1988;
Lopez, 1990; Calbucura, 1996).
Of critical importance is the law of 12/04/1866, which offered the framework
for the Mapuche relocation on reducciones. The law of01/20/1883, which reinstalled
the Comision Radicadora de Indlgenas (Indigenous Reduccion Comission) and unlea-

shed the legal process of territorial Mapuche spoliation and relocation to reducciones,
is also crucial. The law of 01/13/1903 prohibited the purchase of indigenous lands and
continued the work of Mapuche relocation. The law of08/29/1927 (4,169) created a
special court to divide the indigenous reducciones. The law of 01/24/1930 (4.820)
created the Indian courts to divide the reducciones without consultation with the
people affected. The law of 06/12/1931 (4,111) fixed at a third the number of requests
required to divide an indigenous reduccion. The law of01/28/1947 (8,736)
reestablished the judicial authorization needed to alienate indigenous lands. The law of
10/12/1953 (55) created the Division de Asuntos Indigenas (Indigenous Issues
Bureau) as a department of the Ministerio de Tierras y Colonization (Ministry of
Lands and Colonization), in an attempt to support the economic development of the
Mapuche properties. The law of 1961 (14,511) abolished the previous laws and
established five Indian courts to resolve conflicts over the restitution of usurped lands
and the division of Indian lands. The law of 09/26/1972 (17,729) was intended to
recover lands for the Mapuche and created the Institute de Desarrollo Indigena
(Indigenous Development Institute). The law of 05/1979 (2,568) revitalized the
divisions of the indigenous reducciones. And, finally, the law of 09/28/1993 (19,253)
sought to promote sustainable development with identity of the indigenous peoples
(stopping the alienation of indigenous lands and creating a fund to increase those
The Chilean indigenous laws, with the exception of the laws of 1972 and 1993

(at least in their spirit68), have been instruments created to facilitate the assimilation of
the Mapuche, rather than instruments created to recognize special rights of the
Mapuche (Jara, Legislation, 1956; Aylwin, Latierra, 1988; Castillo, 1988; Bengoa,
Lev indigena, 1993). Nonetheless, social scientists concerned with indigenous laws
believe that those laws have failed to achieve this purpose (Jara, Legislacion, 1956;
Aylwin, Latierra, 1988; Castillo, 1988; Lopez, 1990; Parmelee, Decreto,1990;
Bengoa, Lev indigena, 1993; Calbucura, 1996). In their opinions, the Mapuche have
shown a great capacity to adjust and survive in the face of the rules imposed by the
state for their destruction as a nation.
The incorporation promoted by Chilean indigenous laws applied the strategy
of transforming the Mapuche into private landowners (Castillo, 1988). The state's
premise expressed a political confidence in the idea that private property meant
welfare and development for the Mapuche. In order to achieve this goal, from 1927 on,
the Chilean government has sponsored the division of the Mapuche reducciones,
seeking to nullify the collective property titles of the land in reducciones.
In addition, with the exception of the laws of 1972 and 1993, the target of the
indigenous laws is not the Mapuche but their lands (Castillo, 1988). To the legislators
the important issue with regard to indigenous laws has been Mapuche lands and not
the Mapuche people. Legislators have expressed a constant interest in putting the
Mapuche lands under the common Chilean legal system (the Codigo Civil in force
68 One must consider the context in which these laws were enacted: a socialist government promoting
agrarian reform in the first case, and in the second case the return to democracy, promoting social
justice in a country that had lived through two decades of right-wing dictatorship. The first law was
short-lived. The second law -after being delayed three years in the legislature- was enacted only to be
ignored or circumvented, if not flagrantly violated, to meet the interests of the economic groups.

since 1855). The crusade to divide the reducciones was based on the desire to put the
Mapuche property under that common legal regime. Of course, under that legal regime
the alienation of lands and their transfer to large farms would be facilitated (timber
companies, industrial farmers, and traditional farmers or latifundistas). Little
importance was given to the possibilities of survival of a non-territorial Mapuche
Finally, when the time came to create new indigenous laws "for" the Mapuche,
the Chilean legislators did not consult with or receive the consent of the Mapuche.
Thereupon, the indigenous laws are a problem addressed "from" the state "for"
indigenous welfare. The paternalism cannot be greater. The cases of indigenous laws
made "with" indigenous participation are scarce (1972 and 1993), and that
participation in any event has never had a decisive effect on the final form of the law.
In the end it is the Chilean parliament that enacts the law, with the array of forces
within the parliament (favorable or unfavorable to indigenous demands) playing an
important role. Consequently, the situation cannot be more politically unfavorable to
the colonized, who cannot even dream of a law made by and for themselves.
The Chilean Imposed Citizenship
The Chilean citizenship status received by the Mapuche in 1819 was more a
virtual issue than a real one. The Mapuche have only fully exercised their citizens'
rights in recent times, given Chile's political development. Between 1819 and 1883 the
Mapuche could not exercise their citizenship for two important reasons. First, the

Mapuche had not yet been defeated, and thus continued to be an independent nation.
Second, a democratic system scarcely existed in Chile at the beginning of the republic.
From 1810 to 1830 the Chileans were busy with struggles over political power. Those
who disputed the power were not common Chileans, but rather those who formed the
elite of the colonial society prior to independence.
Only in 1831 did Chile begin to enjoy political stability. Between that date
and the definitive date of the Mapuche defeat and incorporation (1883), political
participation was no better for the Mapuche citizens than for the common Chileans.
Between 1831 and 1874 the right to vote in Chile was a censatario vote (Valenzuela,
1985; Scully, 1995), meaning that only Chileans who had property (real estate,
capital) and income could exercise the right to vote. Consequently, only a slight
percentage of the population could participate.
When the right to vote was broadened at the beginning of the 20th century,
literate males who were at least 25 were able to vote, but this still represented pro-
blems for the Mapuche. Most Mapuche spoke another language and were considered
illiterate for political purposes (in the first decades of the 20th century the Chileans
voters were less than 10% of the Chilean population (Valenzuela, 1985)). Until the
promulgation of mandatory elementary education (1920s), a high percentage of the
Chilean population was illiterate (only in the 1960s did literacy reach 80% (Burnett,
1968)). Many illiterate people lived in rural areas. Therefore, while some Mapuche
may have been able to participate in the Chilean politics at this time, according to the
requirements it could not have been many.

The voting age was reduced to 21 years in 1925 (Valenzuela, 1985; Burnett,
1968), thus increasing political participation, but still only for men. Women achieved
the right to vote in 1949 (Valenzuela, 1985; Burnett, 1968) but, in spite of this, even
at the beginning of 1960s the Mapuche female vote was not very strong. That, in part,
is due to the high rate of illiteracy among women, low registration in the electoral
system, and above all, the idea that politics was a matter for men (Faron, The
Mapuche Reservation, 1967).
Finally, in the 1970s, two measures would favor the democratic participation
of the Mapuche. First, the right to vote was granted to those who were illiterate.
Second, the voting age was reduced to 18 years. With this, almost 50% of the Chileans
could exercise a fundamental political right in democracy (Magnet, 1973). It is
probable that these last measures, in particular the voting age being reduced to 21,
then to 18, the women's vote, and the vote to the illiterate, favored a massive
Mapuche participation in Chilean politics. This, in turn, worked in favor of the
Mapuche political incorporation and assimilation, but then the dictatorship began.
After almost two decades of dictatorship, democracy returned to Chile, but
this democracy is not a continuation of the pre-dictatorship period. Before returning
power to the civilians, the dictators passed several laws that obstruct the full exercise
of democracy. For example, part of the current Chilean senate is appointed and not
elected (Pinochet himself was appointed senator for life). The binominal electoral
system gives parties that win 25% of the vote similar representation to those that
obtain 75% of the vote. The critique of democracy as dictatorship of the majority is

not played out in Chile. Rather, Chilean democracy is dictatorship of the minority.
The system was designed to favor the representation of the right -also the rich- or in
other words to maintain the status quo of the dictatorship (Ruiz, 199). Consequently,
while the Mapuche were moving toward political assimilation until the coup in 1973,
this was interrupted by the dictatorship and remains interrupted today.
In addition, if political parties are a form of channeling political participation
in a democratic society, Chilean society has had them since 1857 (Silva V., F., La
Organization, 1993; Scully, 1995). Nonetheless, the first Chilean parties were elitist
instruments of the Chilean upper class and its factions. The policies of those parties
reflected the needs, interests, and expectations of the elite social sectors (although
some of them were more progressive than others).
One main confrontation among these elite parties was the dilemma of
"clericalism" versus "anticlericalism" (Scully, 1995). That is, the struggle to consecrate
religious freedom and the separation of the church and the state, versus the
continuation of the Catholicism as the religion of the state. Liberals and radicals
supported the first ideal, while conservatives supported the second (Silva V., F.,
Expansion. 1993). Only in the decade of the 1920s did the core of politics become
concerned with social issues (Scully, 1995). The door to confront the expectations of
the excluded social sectors was opened during this period.
The early precedent of the parties concerned with social issues was the
division of the Partido Radical (PR, Radical Party) in 1887, and the appearance of the
Partido Democrata (PD, Democratic Party). The PD aspired to improve the global

situation of the Chilean people through non-violent methods and gradual reforms
(Scully, 1995). The PD was the first party that caught the Mapuche's attention, and
the first party that began to bring reality to the Mapuche political incorporation into
Chilean national society. For three decades the PD was responsible for increasing the
levels of organization among workers. In 1918, the party managed to elect two
senators and 12 congressmen to the Chilean parliament (Scully, 1995).
In 1911, the PD was fractured, and the dissident members founded the Partido
Socialista Obrero (PSO, Socialist Workers Party, 1912 -Silva, Expansion, 1993), which
in 1922 became the Partido Comunista de Chile (PCCh, Chilean Communist Party
-Scully, 1995). Also, in 1912, the Partido Socialista Chileno (PSCh, Chilean Socialist
Party) was created but was short-lived (Silva V., F., Expansion, 1993). In 1933,
various socialist groups gave rise to the Partido Socialista de Chile (PSCh, Socialist
Party of Chile (Silva V., F., Un Contrapunto,1993)). With these developments, the
chart of classist and mass parties remained more or less structured in Chile, and
politics gradually began to concentrate on the contradictions between capitalism and
socialism. In 1957, the Partido Democracia Cristiana (PDC, Christian Democrat
Party) would be added to the previous list of parties.
Finally, the Mapuche organizations were another form of Mapuche
institutional participation in the Chilean political structures. In 1910, with the
foundation of the Sociedad Caupolican (Caupolican Society), a new form of Mapuche
resistance was inaugurated. The Mapuche resistance was not guided at the beginning
by the rejection of assimilation, but rather reproached anything that prevented its

rapid consummation. Because of this, the demand for wingka education was among
the principal claims of the first organizations. Nevertheless, the discourse of
assimilation swiftly gave way to less radical integrationist discourse, and even to
fundamentalist approaches such as that of Manuel Aburto Panguilef and his
Federation Araucana (Araucanian Federation).
The Mapuche organizations -resembling pressure groups and trade unions with
an ethnic characteristic- used productive tactics of resistance, such as street
demonstrations, meetings in public places, lobbying, and the support of political
candidacies. In this new form of resisting and claiming, new Mapuche leaders emerged,
and the first Mapuche politicians built their images. Among the latter, Francisco
Melivilu (first Mapuche congressman for the PD), Manuel Manquilef (Liberal Party
congressman), Arturo Huenchullan (congressman for the PD), Venancio Cohuepan
(independent congressman and Minister of Land and Settlement under Carlos Ibanes
del Campo administration in 1952), and more recently Francisco Huenchumilla
(Christian Democracy Party congressman since 1990) stand out.
However, as a well-known saying in Chile suggests, "uno no es ninguno," (one
is not any). The presence of one, two, or three Mapuche congressman will never tip
the balance of power in favor of the Mapuche nation. A Mapuche congressmen must
answer not only to Mapuche demands but also to the interests of the Chilean party
that promoted his candidacy.69 Those interests have not always been close to the
Mapuche needs, interests, and expectations. In addition, the pressure of ethnic
69 Furthermore, the Chilean parties differ substantially from the parties in the U.S. The Chilean parties
observe a very strict party-line voting. That is, if a parliamentarian votes differently from the party
vote, that parliamentarian can be expelled from the party (and this has happened more than once).

organizations never broke the Chilean wall of power, which reflected in an important
part the interests of the landowners in the Mapuche lands. That is, the issue of
recovering usurped lands is a primordial claim of the Mapuche peasants even today,
and the majority of the post-incorporation Mapuche organizations were/are fighting to
recover lands usurped from the reducciones (not to increase the extent of the
reducciones). That is, they are still in a very defensive struggle.
Some of the state initiatives commented upon above have been directed spe-
cifically to the Mapuche, while others target the entire Chilean population. However,
they have all had an impact on the Mapuche, which can be measured in terms of
greater or lesser assimilation. Thus, when the Mapuche were independent, the armed
resistance favored the reinforcement of the Mapuche national identity, but their
military defeat and relocation to reducciones favored assimilation. As a consequence
of not being able to offer a substantive resistance to the wingka, keeping them out of
Mapuche society, the Mapuche remained exposed to Chilean assimilationist
harassment. The Mapuche began to experience political alienation, and the idea of
being a political society was cast in doubt. From that context emerged the present
political and social problems of identity, making the collective Mapuche being into a
daily plebiscite, in the manner in which Ernest Renan defines the nation (Touchard,
1988; Hutchinson & Smith A. D., 1994).
The indigenous laws -and their zigzagging history- without intending to do so,

helped create a modest space of lands that became the foundation of the current
Mapuche society (Jara, Legislation, 1956). In this space the Mapuche problem was
not defined in favor of either assimilation or a strengthening of the Mapuche society.
Jara noted this in 1950s, when he recognized that the result obtained by the indige-
nous laws was "provocar un retardo en el proceso de desintegracion de la sociedad
tribal"70 (Jara, Legislation, 1956: 19).
Nonetheless, it does not mean that more than 100 years of indigenous laws
have not had an impact on the Mapuche. The Mapuche society has experienced
transformations during that time, with one of them being that the Mapuche have
started to act according to the rules imposed upon them. Even though the Mapuche,
having suffered defeat, resented the new legality imposed by the Chileans, the
Mapuche today are molded by that framework. Because of this, the central demand of
all Mapuche programs -the land- has always been presented to the governments as a
demand for new indigenous laws.
The indigenous laws have worked in favor of assimilation, because they have
consecrated on paper the Mapuche condition as an oppressed and colonized national
minority. The indigenous laws have not recognized specific territorial or political
rights to the Mapuche. The indigenous laws treat the Mapuche as a not-quite-definable
object in transition to the general regulation applicable to all Chileans. The global
Chilean laws are, in the end, those that prevail when the time comes to settle conflicts,
not the indigenous laws that are subordinated {de facto or de juris) to general
70 "[T]o provoke a slow-down in the process of disintegration of the tribal society." (Author's trans.)

The gradualism with which participatory democracy has been developed in
Chile has delayed Mapuche assimilation. The early exclusion of an important portion
of the Mapuche "citizens" through suffrage based on property and literacy, as well as
various age and gender restrictions, worked to keep the Mapuche isolated from
Chilean political life, thus favoring a reinforcement of Mapuche national identity.
Although some Mapuche found a more tolerant integrationist environment
within the Chilean political parties, where words like companions and comrades
created a special sense of acceptance (similar to churches that use words like brothers
or sons of God), disillusionment has often not been long in following. The Chilean
parties, as institutions of the dominant state, do not respond to the expectations
placed on them by the Mapuche. Party ideals and utopias have carried strong doses of
assimilationism, as the Mapuche has started to understand.
Creo que nosotros hemos perdido gran parte de nuestra juventud, de nuestro
tiempo, y de nuestras capacidades al servicio de ideologias partidarias. [...]
[CJreyendo que mediante esa action vamos a solucionar los problemas hemos
entregado lo mejor de nuestra capacidad. Lo que deberiamos haber hecho en el
pasado, es haber entregado esa capacidad al servicio de nuestro Pueblo72
(Painemal, 1988:12).
71 Frequently indigenous laws are enacted to be subordinate to other national laws. Even when this is
not the case, however -as in the case of the most recent legislation- they have been de facto
subordinated if this yields a more convenient result.
72 I believe we have lost a large part of our youth, our time, and our capacity in service to partisan
ideologies. [...] [B]elieving that through this action we will solve the problems, we have given the
best of our capacity. What we should have done in the past, is given that capacity to the service of our
People. (Author's trans.)

With regard to the Mapuche organizations, the models copied from Chilean
national society bear no relation to the Mapuche pre-incorporation past, although
some syncretism may have been produced inside those organizations, blending
traditional culture and dominant Chilean culture (the case of the Federacion
Araucanian is illustrative). Nonetheless, the Mapuche organizations bear a strong
resemblance to wingka trade unions. Probably for this reason, with the exception of
the Federacion Araucana, they never questioned the incorporation.
The Mapuche organizations, after military defeat and political incorporation,
have fought to improve the Mapuche economic, social, and cultural situation within
Chilean society. They have not been able to identify, in the act of incorporation, the
cause of their economic, social, and cultural deprivation. Only during the demonstra-
tions sparked by the dictatorship's indigenous law 2,563 (1979), and especially during
the 1990s, have the Mapuche organizations started to produce the first objections to
the incorporation itself in the form of autonomist demands. It is possible to conclude,
in this sense, that measures that have favored Mapuche civic participation have also
favored Mapuche assimilation. In summary, until recently, the Mapuche political
incorporation has mostly favored Mapuche assimilation into the Chilean society.

Con razon se ha sostenido que 'mas que por las proclamas y decretos, la
politica hispano-americana del siglo XIX se caracteriza por una nueva
estructuracion de la propiedad rural y la constitution del latifundio. Enormes
extenciones de tierra, que eran antes campos de caza, de recoleccion o de
production agricola extensiva y rudementaria, pasaron a manos de propietarios
nuevos.' Aunque no con tanta sencillez: 'Dentro de este proceso no hubo mas
que dos posibilidades: la proletarization del indio patifico y el exterminio del
indio bravo.173 ( Jara, Legislation, 1956)
Even though Rosenblat's statement -cited by Jara- leaves no space for other
options, the Mapuche national question is more complex. Although there was
extermination of some Mapuche and proletarization of others, important numbers
remained in a sort of autonomous, self-insufficient economic system. This system, the
reduction, favored a weak relationship of Mapuche dependence on the Chilean
national economy. This chapter does not discuss specific economic policies directed
toward the Mapuche population, because a review of the legislation suggests that
specific economic policies do not exist. This chapter, then, will discuss the economic
history of Chile, its agriculture, and the relationship of these with the Mapuche
economy, extracting from this discussion a conclusion as to whether this economic 73
73 With good reason some authors have said that Latin American politics in the 19th century has
characterized itself, not by proclamations and decrees, but by a new structuring of land ownership and
the creation of the latifundio. Enormous extensions of land, previously places for hunting, harvesting,
and rudimental agriculture, fell to new proprietors. But this process was not such a simple one:
Within this process there were only two possibilities: the proletarization of the peaceful Indians and
the extermination of the hostile Indians. (Author's trans.)

history has favored Mapuche assimilation or identity affirmation.
An Overview of the Chilean Economy
In general terms, the economic direction taken by Chile from the second half of
the 19th century until the present, can be divided in three periods: first, from 1850 to
the 1920s, an economy dominated by exports; second, from the 1920s to 1973, an
increasing state role in economic development, with strategies of import substitution
industrialization; finally, from 1973 to the present, the free market approach was
imposed with an orthodoxy seldom witnessed elsewhere.
The first period has been defined as conservative (Collier & Sater, 1997), be-
cause the most important issue to the Chilean government was to maintain a balanced
budget. During this period, Chile experienced neither autarky nor industrialization that
could have improved the situation of the poor or broken the dependence on manufac-
tured imports. In this period mining was the key sector, with minerals such as silver,
copper and saltpeter dominating at different times. Therefore, the most important
economic activities were concentrated in the northern provinces of Chile, with a flow
of migration in that direction. Agriculture, however, also experienced strong export
cycles for wheat and flour during 1849-1856 (to the California and Australia markets)
and 1865-1878 (to the British market).
The principal markets for Chilean exports were the large economies of the
second half of the 19th century, such as England, the United states, France and
Germany. The commercial volume of transactions increased over five times between

1840 and 1870, and the tendency to import more than was exported was reversed in
1860. By 1870 the income of the Chilean state had increased over five times that of
1840 (Collier & Sater, 1997). The state used this income to provide the country with
new infrastructure to support the export economy. Chile expanded its shipping fleet;
built telegraph lines to connect the country with Europe and the U.S.; built better
roads; and started the construction of the Chilean rail system. The work on the
railroad began in 1851 and by 1883 trains arrived in the heart of the Mapuche country
(approximately 428 miles south of Santiago), crossing it to the reach its southern
border in 1913 (Blakemore, 1993).
But the history of the export economy was not free of difficulties. In 1857, as
well as at the end of the 1870s, the country confronted two important economic
recessions, produced by the loss of wheat markets. These crises were deepened by
the depletion of silver deposits (Collier, 1993), and the devaluation of the world silver
price (Collier & Sater, 1997). Copper went through similar difficulties at the end of
the 1870s. Chile was able to maneuver through these crises by increasing taxation of
the wealthiest sectors (the first timid intervention in this direction) and by annexing
the saltpeter-rich northern provinces (Regions I and II today), during the "War of the
Pacific" (1879-1884) against Peru and Bolivia.
From the 1880s to the 1910s, saltpeter was the bread of Chile but it soon
faded from importance. The industrial countries began to experiment with other
chemical products to improve their agricultural production. Although progress was
slow, the experiments gained new importance with the beginning of World War I and

the blockade of Germany. It was not long before the Germans invented synthetic
saltpeter and buried forever the prosperous era of Chilean saltpeter. The economic
dependence of Chile on foreign technology, as well as an economy based on
exportation of a few basic products, were important factors in the Chilean
development crisis.
The second period (1920-1973) was characterized first by a time of crisis.
From the 1920s to the end of World War II, the Chilean economy went through a
series of crises and recoveries. Together with poor Chilean economic management,
international crisis explains this situation. The World War I period was not very
favorable to world trade and the depression of the 1930s, followed by World War II,
was not much better. Typically, during such international crises, the powerful
economies reduce or restrict imports, particularly those coming from non-industrial
Chile continued to depend on saltpeter exports during the 1920s, and survived
the crisis periods only by deepening the Chilean external debt. Copper displaced
saltpeter in importance in the 1930s, but this mineral was under the control of
American transnational companies. Consequently, the wealth generated by copper
exports only minimally benefited the Chilean state, a situation that improved in the
1960s with the "Chilenization" of the copper mines (the state appropriated a majority
of the stock) and its complete nationalization in the 1970s.
The economic situation of the countiy generated a movement in favor of
greater intervention by the state in the economy. During the earlier period the state

was merely an escort of private initiative, but now young economists of the 1920s
began to demand more action from the state. These ideas became a political demand
carried by the progressive sectors of Chilean society, and they influenced policy in
the 1930s, becoming the economic program of the Frente Popular (a political coalition
of centrist and leftist parties) in 1938.74 The Corporacion Nacional de Fomento
(National Corporation for Development, CORFO) was created during the government
of the Frente Popular, with the mission of industrializing the country in basic areas
and reducing the dependency on foreign industrial technology. The CORFO planned
development in areas such as energy (electricity, oil, natural gas), and steel
These projects became reality after the end of WWII. In the 1950s the
conditions for development were highly favorable, with economists from different
countries -particularly in Latin America- promoting similar ideas. These were the
years when the Economic Commission for Latin America (ECLA) began promoting
import substitution industrialization based on the intellectual reflections of
economists like R. Prebish (So, 1990).
After a decade of efforts, however, the initiative collapsed. After a short
period of success came a period of stagnation, for reasons still debated today. Chilean
industry failed to offer more employment, to produce cheaper products (radios,
televisions, refrigerators, etc.), or to relinquish state subsidies. Thus, the government
in the 1960s returned its attention to the export of natural resources, an activity never
truly abandoned as it was the principal source of foreign exchange. The crusade to
14 President Pedro Aguirre Cerda (1938-1940) was one of these young proponents of industrialization.

nationalize copper began in the 1960s, and in July 1971 copper was nationalized.
The importance of this event was not fully appreciated during the socialist
government of Salvador Allende (1970-1973). Allende had to confront the reaction of
the U.S. transnational companies and government, the reaction of the copper workers
demanding better salaries, and serious difficulties provoked by the transfer of the
copper mining business to inexperienced people. It was not until the dictatorship that
copper began to yield profits for the country.
Finally, the period of neoliberal economy (1973-today) started with the
dictatorship (1973-1990), and continues today under the democratic governments that
followed the dictatorship. This period is the antithesis of the previous ones, and some
social scientists call it an economic revolution. (Martinez & Diaz, A., 1996) The
doctrine of the liberal economists promoted individual freedom to seek profit, a
motive seen as the engine of economic progress. For this reason, liberal economists
promote non-intervention on the part of the state,75 as well defending property rights.
For these economists, it is in the market that individuals, as producers and consumers,
obtain their best options for development and freedom (Collins & Lear, 1995).
The first part of the neoliberal period -the free market stage- corresponds to
the 17 years of dictatorship (1973-1990). Augusto Pinochet and his staff focused on
dismantling the work of earlier governments, returning enterprises which the state had
previously appropriated, and privatizing ventures created by the state, such as the
CORFO and the net of industries that CORFO had founded. Furthermore, the lands
75 During the previous period, particularly between 1969-1970, the state controlled 50% of Chilean

that agrarian reform had given to the peasants (between the 1960s and the beginning of
the 1970s), were returned in part to the previous landlords, while most of the lands
held as collective property were turned over to private owners.76 That measure
allowed the land market to flourish, given the fact that peasants were unable to
produce efficiently in an environment where the prices of seeds, supplies, and taxes
were frequently increasing. The regime also eliminated subsidized credit and welfare
programs; opened the country to foreign capital; adjusted Chilean markets to world
prices; and concentrated on the development of a few products in which Chile has
comparative advantage (mining, fishing, fruit, and wood).
The free market economy under Pinochet was not successful (Vergara, 1984;
Oppenheim, 1993; Collins & Lear, 1995), and survived the crises and critiques of the
first decade only through severe political repression of dissidents. It was not until
1985 that the dictatorship started to show success in macro-economic indicators. This
success, however, was not shared by most of the Chilean population. Most Chileans
lost social benefits from the previous period, and salaries were greatly reduced.
Furthermore, unemployment remained extremely high.
The second part of the neoliberal economy -the export model stage-
corresponds to the 11 years of the Concertacion por la Democracia (Concertation for
Democracy), starting in 1990 with the slogan "la alegria ya viene" (happiness is
coming now).77 Before being elected, the Concertacion was a harsh critic of the free
market economy, promising to attack the evils caused by the economic model for the
76 Unlike what happened in the central area of Chile, the lands that Allende gave to the Mapuche
during his government were definitively returned to the previous landlords.
77 Political coalition of centrist and leftist -excluded the communist- parties Henceforth Concertacion..

Chilean population. At the same time -covertly- the Concertacidn was giving full
guarantees to the Chilean economic groups that it would to continue with the same
economic strategies (Petras & Leiva, 1994).78 Thus, the Concertacidn government
started to harmonize these different goals under the premise "crecimiento con
equidad" (growth with equity). The idea of growth with equity took the form of three
economic objectives: to maintain macroeconomic stability, to improve Chilean
integration in the world economy, and to improve of social services.
Neither the first government of the Concertacidn (Patricio Aylwin, 1990-
1994) nor the second (Eduardo Frei Ruiz-Tagle, 1994-2000), and not even (in its first
year) the third (Ricardo Lagos, 2000-2006) has achieved the goal of growth with
equity. To the contrary, privatization of state property continues, as in the case of
part of the "Corporation del Cobre" (Copper Corporation or CODELCO); and the
objective of social justice has advanced slowly only when it does not threaten other
economic priorities (Fazio, El Programa. 1996). Although there has been progress in
social matters (Ffrench Davis, 1996),79 the gap between rich and poor is deepening. A
1994 World Bank study on distribution of incomes placed Chile among the seven
worst countries of a total of 65 (Fazio, Chile, 1996).
According to some economists, the most important change during the
Concertacidn era is the metamorphoses of the Concertacidn itself. The politicians in
78 Petras & Leiva quoted an interview conducted by Revista Caras N 74 (February 11, 1991: p. 30)
with one of the most important businessmen in Chile, Eduardo Matte, who was very satisfied with the
Conception's promise. This promise occurred six months before the Concertation government was
inaugurated. (See Petras & Leiva, 1994, Chap. 4.)
79 The Chilean economist, Ricardo Fffench-Davis, noted in 1996 that the poverty rate had dropped
from 45 % in 1887 -Pinochet's days- to 28.5 % in 1994 (First Concertacidn administration).

this alliance -ex Christian democrats and socialists- have not only ended up
administrating the dictatorship's economic model but have become convinced of its
virtue (Diaz, A. 1991; Petras & Leiva, 1994). Because of this, a divorce has occurred
between the early supporters of the Concertacion and the Concertacion alliance.
While in the two first presidential elections the Concertacion easily won the election
(by a 33.6% margin in 1993), the third Concertacion government defeated the
opposition candidate (paradoxically, the progeny of the dictatorship) only in a second
round and only by a few percentage points (2.64%).
An Overview of Chilean Agriculture
According to Hubert Herring, only eight percent or approximately 3.1 million
acres of the soil in the central area of Chile was appropriate for agriculture (Herring,
1971). Harring defined the central area as the lands between the provinces of
Aconcagua (part of the V region) and Valdivia (part of the X region), that is a
territorial space with approximately 38.9 million acres. However, discounting the
lands that correspond to Region IX in the Mapuche territory and the Arauco province
on the coast of Region VIII,80 which at the beginning of the export period were still
Mapuche lands, the arable land is reduced to about 2.4 million acres from a total of 30
million acres. Likewise, adding the 4.3 million acres that correspond to lands in the
rest of Region V and the province of Choapa in the Region IV, the lands increase to
about 2.7 million agricultural acres. Those lands were the agricultural lands that the
80 The province of Valdivia (immediately south of Region IX), also part of the Mapuche territory
recognized by Spaniards, was occupied by Chile in 1820.

Mapuche lost during Spanish colonization, and that the Chilean state controlled at the
beginning of the export period.81
As the Chilean historian Fernando Silva wrote in 1993 (La Organization), at
the beginning of the export economy Chilean agriculture was undeveloped, depending
mainly on human and animal labor. Collier (1993), Blakemore (1993), and Collier &
Sater (1997) agree with the Fernando Silva, and also note that the central area of
Chile82 was an underused area. That is, in this area there were enormous extensions of
land not being exploited. Agriculture was a disorganized sector of the economy, where
overproduction was more or less habitual. Such overproduction resulted in lower
prices for the crops, given that internal markets were weak as a consequence of the
poverty of the majority of the population.
In 1860, 80% of the million and a half inhabitants of Chile were living in the
central rural area. Twenty-five years later, when the Mapuche country had already
been politically incorporated, the rural population of Chile (59%) continued to be
greater than the urban population (Collier, 1993; Blakemore, 1993; Collier & Sater,
1997). These rural people were the workers of the latifundistas (landlords), usually
living within the big latifundios under a regimen of servitude (called inquilinos).83 The
81 Unofficially Chile began the colonization of the southern part of the Mapuche territory in 1846, with
the introduction of German colonists around "La Union." Officially, colonization begun in 1848, when
Chile sent a representative to Germany to encourage more colonists who started arriving in 1850 in
Valdivia. By 1853, Puerto Montt, as well as Llcmquihue, were established at the southern limits of the
Mapuche country.
82 This area was equivalent to the former northern section of the Mapuche country.
83 The word alludes to the peasants that lived on the property of a landowner in a system similar to
sharecropping. Another form of peasant work was the peonaje, a system of hiring labor during the brief
harvest time. The peon was essentially a vagabond with no particular skill, traveling the rural areas
and cities to work wherever laborers were needed.