Indigenous Rights

This stoic face of the murdered Mapuche activist, Camilo Catrillanca, stared down at protesters across the walls of Santiago during the 2019-20 uprising. Catrillanca’s image and other graphics tied to Chile’s indigenous peoples channeled a wider set of social and political demands: justice and “plurinationalism” for Chile’s indigenous population. Chile’s Mapuche population is the largest of nine indigenous groups, which together constitute approximately 10% of the country’s total population. For protesters, Catrillanca was the consummate victim of state repression but also a model of heroic resistance in a conflict dating to the mid-nineteenth century between the Mapuche and a rapacious capitalist state. Indigenous peoples have been guaranteed 17 of the 155 seats in the constitutional assembly.