“we express our solidarity for the suffering of the native peoples of canada”.

By Claudia Aranda

The Mapuche teacher, together with the ancestral spiritual authority, Machi Francisca Linconao, went up to the podium, where the new president of the Constitutional Convention that will draft a new Magna Carta for Chile, the first truly democratic and broadly participatory in the entire republican history of the country, and, there in front of everyone, including members of the political elite of the ruling party who have always treated them as criminals or pariahs and second or third class human beings, she addressed not only the Convention members but also the Chilean people, the whole country and beyond, with words full of emotion that have overturned each of the paradigms of this neo-colonialist and neoliberal system, selfish and inhuman, to make way for the establishment of an absolutely different framework that speaks of equality, respect, sustainability, freedom, recognition, justice and truth, among so many other principles on which the collective hope dreams of building a new Chile.

But it is not only a dream that ends at our borders, because, as the Mapuche authority said, they are a native people in solidarity, and that is how their words showed solidarity with the native peoples of Canada in the face of the horror they have faced with this truth of colonialism and death that has the world stupefied while the bodies of indigenous children murdered and abused in that country are counted by the thousands and their churches burn in flames.

Elisa Loncón Antileo, 58, was elected to one of the seven Mapuche seats in the May elections with 11,714 votes in the indigenous district of the regions of Coquimbo, Valparaíso, Metropolitana, O’Higgins and Maule. She is a strong supporter of land restitution for the Mapuche. On the violence in La Araucanía, she has said that “state violence against the Mapuche is more profound”. She is an academic in the Faculty of Humanities of the Department of Education at the University of Santiago and an external lecturer in the Faculty of Arts at the Catholic University of Chile. She graduated as an English teacher from the Universidad de La Frontera, with postgraduate courses at the Institute of Social Studies in The Hague (The Netherlands) and the University of Regina (Canada). She holds a Master’s degree in Linguistics from the Universidad Autónoma Metropolitana, Iztapalapa UAM-I (Mexico), a PhD in Humanities from the University of Leiden (The Netherlands) and a PhD in Literature from the Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile.

In an event charged with symbolism and transcendence, Elisa Loncón, President of the Constitutional Convention of Chile, has begun her first speech to the country and in front of her conventional colleagues, in Mapuzungún, her native language:

Feley mari mari mari pu lamngen, mari mari kom pu che….

A big greeting to the people of Chile, from the north to Patagonia, from lafkén, the sea, to the mountains, to the islands, to all the people of Chile who are listening to us. Here we are lamngen, here we are. Thank you for the support of the different coalitions that gave their trust and deposited their dreams in the call made by the Mapuche Nation to vote for a Mapuche person, a woman, to change the history of this country. We lamngen, happy for this strength that they give us, this strength is for all the people of Chile, for all the sectors, for all the regions, for all the peoples and the native nations that accompany us.

For all lamngen and organisations, this greeting and thanks is also for sexual diversity. This greeting is for the women who walked against all systems of domination, to thank them for the fact that this time we are installing here a way of being plural, a way of being democratic, a way of being participatory. That is why this convention that it is my turn to preside today will transform Chile into a plurinational Chile, an intercultural Chile, a Chile that does not attack the rights of women, the rights of women carers, a Chile that cares for mother earth, a Chile that also cleans the waters, against all domination, lamngen.

Therefore, brothers and sisters, all of you who are listening, a special greeting to the Mapuche lamngen of Wallmapu. This dream is a dream of our ancestors, this dream is coming true. It is possible, brothers and sisters, comrades, to re-found this Chile, to establish a new relationship between the Mapuche people, the original nations, and all the nations that make up this country. In this context, pu lamngen, this is the first sign that this Convention is going to be participatory, that in this elected convention, we as native peoples, established that it was going to be a rotating leadership, a collective leadership, that gives space to all the sectors that are represented here. All of us, together lamngen, we are going to re-found this Chile.

We have to broaden democracy, we have to broaden participation, we have to call on every corner of Chile to see this process, to make it a transparent process, so that they can see us in every corner of our people, and in our native languages that have been neglected throughout the entire Chilean nation state.

For the rights of our native nations, for the rights of the regions, for the rights of mother earth, for the rights to water, for the rights of women, for the rights of children. I would also like to express my solidarity with the other peoples who are suffering. We have heard on television what has happened to the indigenous children in Canada. It is shameful how colonialism has attacked and attacked the future of the original nations. We are a people in solidarity, that is why, sister and brother, we have taken a gamble.

I would like to thank the original authority of the Mapuche people, Machi Francisca Linconao, for her support. Along with this gratitude, I also have a mother, a mother who is looking at me in my community of Lefeluan. A mother who also made it possible for this daughter to be here today. Thanks to all the mothers who also fight for the future of their children, pu lamngen. Finally, I would like to send greetings to the children who are listening to us.\

May a new Chile be founded, plural, multilingual, with all cultures, with all peoples, with women, with the territories. That is our dream for writing a new Constitution.


(Lamngen: brother/sister

Mari mari: it’s a greeting

MARRICHIWEW: a hundred times we will win!)