Wvnen Xawvn, tayiñ Bawehtuwvn”, “Wvnen Xawvn, tayiñ Bawehtuwvn”.

At a crucial moment for the health of humanity where the response of the pharmaceutical market was to place life and health as a commodity in the hands of multinationals, the Mapuche nation people propose a biocultural system of care for all lives that allows us to defend our physical and spiritual balance in territories abandoned by public health.

We share the document that contains the Positioning and Demands that the different authorities of the lawenzugu debated during two intense days:

Positions and demands

Gathered in “Wvnen Xawvn, tayiñ Bawehtuwvn” in Kiñel Mapu Ragiñce Kimvn, City of Zapala on the 25th, 26th and 27th of March 2022, We started our gvlamtuwvn with a Wixaxipan to ask pu Gen Mapu ka pu fvtakeceyem to guide and accompany us in this first meeting whose main objective is to share processes, experiences and the realities of the Mapuche Health System in the provinces of Neuquén and Río Negro: Ruka Lawen” Health Team, Lof Millalonko Ranquehue, Lof Maliqueo, Lof Wiritray, Lof Henchupan (Río Negro). Pu llankan” Health Team of Lof Curruhuinca (Kiñel Mapu Wijice); “Bawehtuwvn Zugu” Health Team Lof Puel Pvjv; “Bawehtuwvn” Lof Newen Mapu. “Pu Xokince Bawehtucefe”: Lof Campo Maripe, Lof Fvta Xayen and Lof Xem Kimvn (Kiñel Mapu Xawvnko). Lof Kinxikew, Lof Paicil Antriao (Kiñel Mapu Lafkence).

As a result of an important debate during three days and with the fundamental contributions of Maci Victor Caniullan Coliñir who offered us his kimvn and experience in his long trajectory in both Gulu Mapu and Puel Mapu, we issued this position that contains the main work axes, agreements and urgent objectives related to the sustainability, development and projection of the Mapuce Bawehtuwvn – Mapuche Health System.

This meeting gave us the opportunity to situate ourselves in the current context of Mapuche health and its relationship with the historical processes that have dispossessed, subjugated and weakened it, such as the genocides committed by the Argentine and Chilean states, imposing borders and medical, educational, religious, legal and political institutions that are alien to the pre-existing peoples, particularly the Mapuche Nation People. In Puel Mapu this was further deepened by the total elimination of our highest medical-spiritual authorities pu Maci in what was the military campaign wrongly called the Conquest of the Desert. However, we maintained, safeguarded and projected our knowledge and practices of our health model within each Lofce, in each territorial space where we were confined and from where we rose again and reorganised ourselves according to mapuce kimvn/ancestral knowledge.

We analysed how the “pandemic” unleashed by the circulation of covid 19 throughout the world once again subjects us to a wigka disease as the coronavirus that unfolds simultaneously with the territorial advance of extractivism, just as it did during the periods of conquest and colonisation. The continuity of these events occurs in the context of the loss of our autonomy and self-determination in relation to community territories, as we are currently facing a series of problems that impede the integral development of the Mapuche Health System due to the permanent threat to water sources, which we conceive in itself as baweh.

Medicinal plants and territories are also endangered by pollution, the water crisis, fires, destruction and reduction of forests, deforestation, and the planting of exotic species. All this is aggravated by the delay in the implementation of the indigenous territorial survey. We say then that this situation has made social and cultural inequalities even more evident, but also as a People we reaffirm our own kimvn, from which we conceive health in an integral way. We take into account the natural environment where we live, the relationship of human beings with space, with air, with water, etc. For the Mapuche people, health is related to the balance-imbalance in the different aspects of people’s lives. The Mapuche health system contemplates and attends to the spiritual, emotional, mental and physical levels; this conception is directly related to the conditions of the territorial environment in which we live, with our behaviour and way of life. In this sense, we believe that the cycles of illness cannot be thought of as casual, supernatural events or as the product of divine interventions. Rather, they derive from human actions and decisions that are detrimental to other lives and compromise the well-being or kvme felen. And with regard to what concerns us most at the moment, which are the restrictions on the free circulation in the Argentinean-Chilean customs of our highest medical authorities pu maci, zugumacife, their healing instruments, medicines prepared or to be prepared – which is further aggravated by the closing of the borders – we resolved in this xawvn:

  1. To demand that the national and provincial governments advance on a protocol for the free circulation in the Argentinean-Chilean customs of our Mapuche medical authorities, who accompany organisational processes for the practice of Mapuche medicine in Puel Mapu through the health teams that we have been working autonomously and interculturally in different territories of the provinces of Río Negro and Neuquén.
  2. We are an organised people and we use the means of dialogue to solve the problems that affect us and therefore we propose the need to generate instances of agreements with the state authorities (Ministries of Health, Customs, National Parks-Comanejo, etc.), through our representative authorities.
  3. We commit ourselves to continue protecting our territories, (mallines, menoko / wetlands and marshes with many medicinal herbs), the medicinal plants, the different types of land, stones and waters (rag/greda, xufken / earth, pebe/mud, kura/stones, lewfv/rivers, xayenko/waterfalls, wvfko/springs) that exist in them as they are vital for the Kvme Felen (good living, well-being) of all people and the biodiversity of our az mapu/ Territorial identities. If our territory is sick kom pu ce, so are the people.
  4. We proposed to move forward with an intra-community protocol to safeguard the entire Mapuche health system and thus avoid folklorisation, syncretism and misuse of the Bawehtuwvn. We also have the responsibility to protect the intellectual property rights of our knowledge and thus avoid the piracy of our natural medicine.
  5. We will also make progress in community territorial agreements for exchanges of various types of baweh that exist in each Kiñel Mapu / territorial identity. Especially within the framework of the Comanejo between the Mapuche People and the Nahuel Huapi and Lanin National Parks.
  6. We propose to deepen our xawvn, to call on other ongoing experiences to strengthen and unify criteria through self-training from the Mapuce kimvn and the bawehtuwvn zugu.
  7. We demand that the Territorial Survey, Law 26160, be carried out, in the understanding that its fulfilment will also guarantee the projection of the Bawehtuwvn.
  8. We urgently demand, in the context of the pandemic and climate change, that the health teams that are making a concrete contribution to the health of our People and their life projects in community territories be respected and taken into account in the elaboration of public policies in favour of the projection of an ancestral health model that not only benefits the Mapuche pu. Taking into account that an intercultural hospital is planned for the Pewenche Territory, Neuquén.

In order to achieve all the objectives we have set ourselves, we have taken the protection of the provincial and national Constitutions and international treaties, including Convention 169 of the International Labour Organisation (ILO), which establishes in Article 25: “Governments shall ensure that adequate health services are made available to the peoples concerned or provide such peoples with the means to organize and provide such services under their own responsibility and control, in order that they may enjoy the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health”.

Likewise, the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples states in Art. 24: “Indigenous peoples have the right to their own traditional medicines and to maintain their own health practices, including the conservation of their vital medicinal plants, animals and minerals. Indigenous individuals also have the right of access, without discrimination of any kind, to all social and health services. States shall take such measures as may be necessary to achieve progressively the full realization of this right”.

And bearing in mind that the territory of the Mapuche People today is divided by the borders of the States of Chile and Argentina, the UN declaration states in Art. 36: “Indigenous peoples, in particular those divided by international borders, have the right to maintain and develop contacts, relations and cooperation, including activities of a spiritual, cultural, political, economic and social nature, with their own members, as well as with other peoples, across borders. States, in consultation and cooperation with indigenous peoples, shall take effective measures to facilitate the exercise and ensure the implementation of this right“.

Other conventions such as the 8J on Biological Diversity, the Regional Agreement on Access to Information, Public Participation and Access to Justice in Environmental Matters in Latin America and the Caribbean or the Escazu Agreement, also uphold our principles of respect and consideration of Ixofij Mogen in our relationship with Waj Mapu.

For the free transit of our Mapuche medical system, for the exercise and projection of our feyentun and Mapuche kimvn, for the protection of ixofij mogen in Waj Mapu. Marici Wew! Mapuche

Confederation of Neuquén