Wiñoy Xipantu 2020 message from Prince Frédéric I of Araucanía and Patagonia to the Mapuche Nation
Mapuche New Year – 24 June 2020
Marri marri pu Lonko,
Marri marri pu Machi,
Marri marri pu Werken.
Marri marri Kompuche.
Today we commemorate one of the days marked in the calendar of all those who take part in the celebrations of the Mapuche People as well as other indigenous peoples of the Southern Cone. It is the day on which a new cycle of our Mother Earth begins. On this special day I would like to send you my heartfelt wishes, hoping that all of you, who are part of such a courageous people, will see your most intimate wishes and aspirations fulfilled.
During the short period of time that I have spent as the head of the institution that I have the honor to preside over, I have never stopped thinking about the difficult economic, political and social situation you find yourselves in due to lack of understanding and will to solve your problems. I am especially interested in making it known that despite the distance between us, I am perfectly aware of all these problems and difficulties. I am firmly committed to helping you, to the best of my ability and as much as I can, in any aspect of the many issues that concern you. The Mapuche people are in my thoughts throughout the year, but on these special days I particularly want to wish you a happy Mapuche New Year: May you enjoy this time of celebration and family gatherings as much as you can, leaving aside everything that you may worry and grieve about.
At the beginning of this year we are facing one of the largest and most destructive pandemics in living memory that is devastating countless families all round the world, a situation from which the Mapuche people are obviously not exempt. But unlike other states that strive to provide the best and most equitable medical care possible for their citizens, the Chilean government has abandoned its duties, leaving impoverished Mapuche families and communities to their fate. The latter are in a situation of desperate need due to the looting of their natural resources.
As I pointed out in my previous message related to the pandemic, our people are confined whilst the Chilean authorities are using the lockdown rules, created to contain the infection of Covid-19, to take advantage of the situation: They are using the militarized police to repress, more than ever before, the Mapuche communities who are claiming their basic human rights, including their territorial rights.
Complaints are being made about the burning of houses and related raids, torture, racist insults and arbitrary arrests of their inhabitants by the police, and other suchlike activities. In addition to the usual daily police brutality, we see the authorized activity of armed groups, some identified and others not, which operate during the day or in the dark of night. This activity, which is contrary to the most basic rules of democratic coexistence, is carried out under the protection of the police and in complicity with the authorities.
These police excesses, which would result in a political scandal in any moderately democratic and civilized country, are easily verifiable through the numerous attacks that have taken place in various Mapuche communities (lof) on both sides of the Andes mountain range this year. To name just a few examples: Lof Buenuleo (29 April) and Lafken Winkul Mapu (21 May) at the Puelmapu, the burning of 15 houses in the Azkintuwe lof (15 January) and the death of Werken Alejandro Treuquil of We Newen (4 June) in the Gulumapu, as well as the loss of a 4-month-old pregnancy by Andrea Neculpan, the wife of the deceased, after a brutal police raid.
It should be noted that these events occur in the midst of a pandemic under strict police control and at a time when the security services do not only have a monopoly regarding decisions on to how much force they can use but also control of free transit, and that far from protecting the Mapuche, they actually repress them. These criminal acts, that are committed with total impunity, must not only be politically condemned but thoroughly investigated because they violate numerous international treaties and conventions, including the terms set forth in the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court.
It is also important to emphasize that institutionalized racism against the Mapuche, as it is expressed in their daily treatment and all that this entails in the way of unfair measures, can be seen everywhere. The criminal convictions of Mapuche political prisoners are a clear example: It is common knowledge that many members of the security forces have been convicted of using fraudulent material to fabricate evidence, and persecute and incriminate Mapuche leaders. These are facts, for example, that were publicly proven to be true during the investigations carried out in connection with the ‘Operation Hurricane’ case. We are pleased that related investigations are being carried out, but we know that this is only the tip of the iceberg, since most abuses of Mapuche fundamental rights are not investigated.
It is extremely unusual that the Mapuche prisoners, many of whom have been on hunger strike for 51 days, have not had their sentences commuted to house arrest – as happened with many Chilean prisoners – when national and international opinion is aware that they have been unjustly convicted through fabrication of evidence by the police and the judicial system within the parameters of a discredited, unjust and racist rule of law, in addition to the lack of guarantees from an independent court.
The humiliating treatment of the Mapuche people is such that today a substantial percentage of the Chilean people, many of whom carry the blood of our heroic people in their veins, expressed their anger during the social unrest immediately following the Mapuche mobilizations of 12 October 2019. Carrying Mapuche banners and flags, they felled monuments of personalities symbolizing oppression and colonialism to the ground.
Now it is time to remove the names of the places baptized with the names of the colonizers and replace them with the names they originally carried. I am sure that the Mapuche are not opposed to the Chileans venerating their heroes, but would they please do so in the territory legitimately inherited from Spain, not in the occupied territory.
Just as today there is already a strong impulse to rescue the proper names of places and to correctly spell the ancestral surnames, so it is essential to recover, promote and revitalize Mapuzugun (the Mapuche language). This would necessarily involve its use in all areas of daily life, including all areas of communication within government institutions in the occupied territory. It would ensure the language’s intergenerational transmission, thus guaranteeing its development and prolongation over time. All these elements are part of our cultural heritage, the reaffirmation of our identity and the reconstitution of our national state.
Within the framework of our rights that we fought for and acquired throughout our history, it is necessary to put into practice the autonomy and self-determination that were taken from us after the illegal annexation of our territory during the ‚Pacification of Araucanía‘ (Chile) and the ‚Desert Campaign‘ (Argentina). In these moments of change that the world is undergoing, the unity of action of the lofs (communities) is becoming necessary, beyond all consideration.
In 1860, at the time when the Kingdom of Araucanía and Patagonia was founded, the Mapuche people maintained their parliament (koyang) representing their 4 territorial entities, whilst King Aurelio-Antonio worked tirelessly alongside the great Lonko(s) for the consolidation of the Kingdom’s independence and its international recognition. Today I humbly urge you to revive this legacy by strengthening the spirit of unity that has been so typical of our ancestors, to ensure that our struggle is effective and that we can reconquer our rights, which we find violated today.
K’me amupe Wiñoy Xipantu kompuche!
Prince of Araucanía and Patagonia
Translated by Barbara Chambers
Mapuche International Link