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Let's Support the Mapuche Struggle in Chile

REQUEST FOR SUPPORT FROM THE
JUAN PAILLALEF MAPUCHE COMMUNITY
CUNCO, IX REGION (*), CHILE
TO THE INTERNATIONAL SOLIDARITY

The Juan Paillalef Mapuche (pronounced mah-poo-chay) Community has started the process to regain their land stolen in 1998. In this process our community has suffered different forms of repression from large landowners and the state of Chile. Community members have seen their houses burnt to the ground many times. These events are a matter of public knowledge both nationally and internationally. The Chilean government has not had the will to solve the demands presented by our community. In spite of this situation our community has not given up their collective rights as people-nation mapuche.

JUANA CALFUNAO PAILLALEF

Chief Juana Calfunao Paillalef is a traditional authority in our community and a member of the Ethical Committee Against Torture and Impunity in Chile. She has been recognized internationally for her role in defense of human rights for indigenous peoples. Recently she was awarded the Chico Mendes Medal by the resistance in Brazil. She is also a founding member of the Community Network in Defense of Mapuche People Human Rights.

GATHERING OF MAPUCHE TRADITIONAL AUTHORITIES IN THE JUAN PAILLALEF COMMUNITY

Our community decided to hold a Gathering of Ancestral Authorities from the diverse mapuche communities to confront the permanent threat to anihilate our people and our culture. This meeting, "trhawun" in our Mapuche language has its roots in the organizational tradition of our people. It is a historic legacy, which we feel we must continue as mapuche people. We did it assuming our ancestral culture and as an homage to and committment with our leaders who in the past sacrificed their lives to defend our rights.

This gathering counted with the presence of different authorities, "lonko" (chief), "machi" (medicine person), weupife, ñempin, werken, afkadi, and collon (I don’t have translations for these yet, but I have requested it.). The objective of the gathering was to reach political agreements and define strategies in order to defend the fundamental rights of our people from the economic, political and legal structure of the Chilean state.

AGREEMENT REACHED BY THE MAPUCHE AUTHORITIES

1. An Autonomous Mapuche Center for Legal Studies was formed to defend before the Chilean tribunals all those people from the mapuche community who are processed due to land litigaton, political persecution or human rights violations. All the communities that are confronting land issues, political persecution or any other problem with the Chilean courts can participate in the Center. We designed this purpose as a way to exercise our right to free determination and not to take the mapuche legal cases to Chilean courts but rather to international tribunals, human rights organizations such as Amnesty International, etc.

In this process we have already held four gatherings of the mapuche community in different communes of the 9th Region. Likewise we have supported the hunger strike our brothers sentenced by the Antiterrorist Law carried out recently.

WE CALL FOR THE FORMATION OF A MAPUCHE TRIBUNAL

The communities that participated in these gatherings have decided to call for the formation a mapuche tribunal to judge and sentence the Chilean state and to demand freedom for the mapuche political prisoners. We also want to especial recognition to the work done by our sister Patricia Troncazo. Of course this only symbolic. For all the abherrations and violations our people have suffered we raise the slogan: WHO JUDGES WHO?

We have set the dates for this tribunal for July 15 and 16. Up to this point all our meetings have been financed by our own means and by the mapuche communities that participated in them.

This activity will take place in the university Universidad de la Frontera de Temuco. We hope to have about 100 people participating, all traditional authorities of the mapuche people. We will also have special guests from Chile and other countries to support and observe the tribunal.

FUNDRAISING

We are asking from you and/or your organization to help us financially to cover in part the expenses of transportation and food for the traditional authorities that will come from different communities to the city of Temuco.

We hope to count with your support! Thank you.


Juana Calfunao Paillalef, Lonko, Juan Paillalef Community.

JUNE 20, 2006

* Chile is divided up in 12 regions from North to South.