SUR is a documentary project about a Mapuche family reclaiming the right to live on their ancestral land in Patagonia, Argentina, in a major case of post-colonial landgrabbing.In Argentinian Patagonia, a group of native Mapuche families, namely the one formed by Atílio, Rosa and Franco Curiñanco, are resisting and peacefully battling against the italian Benetton Group, for the right to live in their ancestral land, where they were born and which belongs to them by oral tradition.
The extension of the lands acquired by Benetton in the 90’s is said to be approximately 900.000 hectares, nearly the size of a country like Cyprus (more than 10 times the area of New York city).
The land reclaimed by the Mapuche families is around 500 ha.
The Benetton Group has seen its legal ownership of the land recognized.
The Mapuche community, has been cleared from the accusation of usurpating the land.
The community claims that the right to live there belongs to them by traditional, oral, pre-colonial law.
In addition, the fact that such a vast amount of land is in the hands of one single legal entity is considered not acceptable for them.
Each part conducts a legal battle for the recognition of what they consider their full rights, although economic, communicative and legal forces are overwhelmingly more powerful on one side.
In hashtags it would be #landgrab #mapuche #patagonia #benetton #davidagainstgoliath
Beyond the dualism of a global legal battle, I think this story deserves to be told and become the start of a much broader reflection on the vital relationship between man and land, than cannot be synthetized only through possession of the land, but also with the meaning of belonging to the land, as it is so intensely exemplified by Atílio’s words (retranscripted by me).
“For you, it’s simple, your culture is written. You can put it into books, and bring them with you. Our culture is oral and is linked to the land, and you cannot move land. A man with the purest Mapuche blood in his veins is nothing without his land, because at the moment he leaves, he looses his culture, and his identity. La sangre no es nada sin la tierra.”