VALPARAÍSO – Over 250 Mapuche leaders gathered in the National Congress in Valparaíso yesterday for a trawün or assembly. Among parliamentarians and House and Senate leaders, the Mapuche declared an autonomous Mapuche government. “The Chilean state has no option than support the formation of a government in the south.”
In the Hall of Honor of the Chilean National Congress in Valparaíso, where President Sebastián Piñera addressed the nation two weeks earlier in his State of the Union, a trawün took place yesterday.
More than 250 leaders of Mapuche communities from southern regions were present, amongst them 12 loncos (chiefs) and eight machis (spiritual leaders). The meeting was led by the president of the Congressional Human Rights Commission Emilia Nuyado, a Mapuche woman herself.
The leaders announced the creation of an autonomous government in the southern regions of Chile.
“We Have The Right To Self-Determination”
Aucán Huilcamán, werkén (leader) of Mapuche organization Council of All Lands (Consejo de Todas las Tierras) said according to Bíobío.cl: “The indigenous peoples and the Mapuche in particular have the right to self-determination. We can form our own government and that is why I here, before this Chamber of Deputies, announce that we are going to form a government in the south. The Chilean state and this Parliament have no other option than support the formation of a Mapuche government.”
“A Historic Meeting”
Mapuche parliamentarian Emilia Nuyado from the Socialist Party (PS) called the meeting historic. As head of the Human Rights Commission, she asked Congress for support on four points:
- to end the militarization of the Araucanía region
- to paralyze the Indigenous Council that is currently being developed
- to contextualize the historical treaties that Chile has signed with the indigenous communities
- to allow self-determination of the Mapuche people
“The President Has Murdered Camilo Catrillanca”
Present at the assembly was also Marcelo Catrillanca, the father of Camilo Catrillanca who was assassinated last year by police forces in the Ercilla commune.
He told Congress that “the government of Chile has made society believe that they were right and truthful. I must tell the president of this country that he has murdered Camilo Catrillanca […] because they implemented the famous Jungle Commando. […] Despite the pain of having lost a 22-year-old son, I have to make myself heard.”
One of the chiefs present, José Santos Millao, ended by saying that the Mapuche people do not want war, but are prepared for it.
En el salón de honor del congreso se está realizando un encuentro Mapuche con los miembros de la comisión de DDHH y Pueblos Originarios. Se solicita minuto de silencio por Camilo Catrillanca pic.twitter.com/eZQ2QVYThm
— Verito Vera (@VeritoVeraVera) June 12, 2019
Editor-In-Chief Boris van der Spek is the founder of Chile Today. He worked in Colombia, Surinam and the Netherlands as reporter and made appearances on BBC World Services and ABC News during major events in Chile.