Today, Chilean president Michelle Bachelet signed the laws at La Moneda Palace, Santiago, that create the Ministry of Indigenous People, the National Council and the Indigenous People’s Councils.
In a simple ceremony, Bachelet congratulated herself on benefiting, at last, the original Chilean indigenous people who include new ethnic groups recognized by the State, with a ministry devoted to them.
“We have the duty of making our nation a country where its multiculturalism and plurality is recognised,” the president asserted.
She said the idea was to generate more spaces in which the cultural richness of our identities can be expressed and to guarantee respect and equal treatment to all men and women, something that all people and beliefs deserve.
According to an official press release, in creating these authorities, representatives of the Aymara, Quechua, Atacameños, Diaguitas, Kollas, Rapa Nui, Kawesqar, Yaganes and Mapuche ethic groups were consulted.
The president explained that the new ministry would collaborate with the presidency of the Republic to design, coordinate and assess policies, plans and programs aimed at encouraging and strengthening the rights of the original peoples.
The new institutions would also work in favour of their socioeconomic, political and cultural development, as well as to seek elimination of all forms of arbitrary discrimination.
In Chile, there is a conflict with the indigenous people, especially with the Mapuche, who demand the return of their lands, seized by transnational companies.