Mapuche Nation. After 475 years of their independence, the Mapuche-Tehuelche community seeks recognition

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Source El Diario de Madryn / The Dawn / January 10, 2016

On January 6, 1641 took place the Parliament Quilín, a mass meeting in which the first Peace Treaty was sealed between the Spanish colonists and the Mapuche people, the date is considered the Independence Day of the current Mapuche-Tehuelche people,  who are present in a great part of the region and the country. As part of the local celebrations, the original community from Puerto Madryn argued that the  municipal, provincial and national authorities should give “due importance” to the history of the first inhabitants of the Patagonia, and also demanded an active defense of the interests of that community.

Criticism of  the “lack of consideration”

“So far, the government has changed and I never felt, not even with Cristina Fernandez, that they have been interested in talking about indigenous peoples”, said Lucas Antieco, son of Lonko Lof Julio Antieco,  the creator of the Mapuche-Tehuelche flag, adding that “the only one who has done it,  is Evo Morales, an indigenous leader from Bolivia”.  In turn, he said that “there is a Directorate for Indigenous Peoples, but  people are not interested in that fight, they don’t care”, and  “just three weeks ago I was able to lead the  Minister of Environment, Ignacio Agulleiro, to the central plateau and  there we talked about our drought problem”.

Antieco said that “when Christopher Columbus came to America, all indigenous people had already arranged their issues regarding the  dimensions of the territories that belonged to them” and regretted that “the second independence which is on January 6, where thousands of people commemorate Three Kings Day, seems to be intentionally overshadowed”.

Warriors

About that date which is called  by Antieco  “our second independence”, the representative of the Mapuche-Tehuelche community reported that ” our lonkos, our warriors were the ones who gave their lives on that date, so Spanish people gave in to the Spanish Crown” and he stated that “they make a Minutes  of negotiation, and  the Spaniards asked native people to take the  record to the King, because he was not going to believe they had been beaten by people who were classified not as human, but as animals” . Then, “a Surrender Act was settled to the Mapuche-Tehuelche National State on January 6, 1641, which marked the 475 years this year”, said Antieco. In retrospect, the referent of the indigenous people stressed that “we won the first independence that was about 900 years ago , and the second one was first recognized by the Argentine government and the first Chilean government”. However, he said that “it was appreciated  by the official versions until the year  1800, after  that the government  broke all the agreements that  our people had made and thus,  they started promoting the day of the Magi, covering up our independence,  which is at the heart of our grandparents”.

They call for an active defense of the community

Antieco reported that “between the conquerors and settlers, a million and a half people originating in Argentina have been killed, in addition to 95 million indigenous people in Latin America”, and remarked that January 6 “is a day of remembrance in which we want to remind our lonkos who fought, because we beat the Spanish and the Spanish Crown”. In turn, he explained that “in Argentina, today , in 2016, there are 46 Original Nations that the national government must recognize once and for all” and also “many Mapuche do not know that January 6 is our Independence Day, and even many do not know they gained their Independence 900 years ago , but most people are learning it now all over the  region and ceremonies are being done, too”.

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