The Mapuche are the largest indigenous community in Chile. They are concentrated in the south of the country, mostly in the Araucanía region which is the poorest region in Chile with a population of 957.224 which 17,2% lives below the poverty level. For almost a century they have claimed their right to recover ancestral lands and natural resources that have been affected by the negative impact of the forest industry and state business.
In the absence of a responsive government that allows the restitution of the land, the level of the conflict in the Araucanía region increased. The Mapuche adopted measures of pressure like the squatting of the lands and properties demanded. This claiming right process and the increase of clashes generated a negative reaction from the government that resulted in the implementation of a policy of judicial persecution and criminalization of collective action, harassment and persecution of leaders, and the militarization of these ancestral territories.
The violence against the Mapuche has serious and specific consequences on children and teenagers, derived from repression, criminalization, raids, interrogations, and other actions carried out by members of the special operation forces. Different NGO's and the national institute of human rights counted 133 cases that include several police violence against Mapuche youth in the last 5 years (up to 2019) while many other cases has not been reported due to mistrust of the judicial system. During the same years 2.241 bullets have been fired by the police in the region. Those cases are rarely reported through traditional media, that brings as a consequence misinformation, letting the Chilean population knowing very little about the Mapuche conflict and their demands.
This project focuses on the experiences suffered by the Mapuche youth documenting testimonies of repression, psychological and physical violence.
This project was produced with the support of Magnum Foundation.