Home Institution

Columbia University

Publication Date

Spring 2013

Program Name

Chile: Cultural Identity, Social Justice, and Community Development


My research aims to analyze the current relationship of the Mapuche movement to the political space allowed to them by the neoliberal Chilean state. This space, which authors Charles R. Hale and Rosamel Milláman call the space of the “indio permitido,” or permitted Indian, is a product of the rhetoric of multiculturalism created by various neoliberal Latin American states with the goal of pacifying their respective indigenous populations by integrating them to the dominant economic, political, and social systems. In Chile, the National Corporation of Indigenous Development, or CONADI, is the primary organism of the state through which the indigenous populations currently negotiate the recuperation of land and other demands. This organization, however, is an example of the parameters set by the state to limit the types of rights that the Mapuche and other indigenous people in Chile can actually demand, and the quality and quantity of achievements that can be gained.

My understanding of the historical relationship between the Mapuche people and the Chilean state was achieved through a wide range of background research, including documentaries, secondary written sources, and an interview with sociologist and author Tito Tricot. Through this research I analyzed the culture of the Mapuche people, the goals of the movement, and the role of CONADI. The different aspects of this historical relationship brought me to question the unity of the Mapuche movement, and I therefore established my research question to be an investigation of the internal conflicts that have arisen within the Mapuche movement as a result of its use of the limited political space permitted to the Mapuche by the Chilean state.

Through an ethnographic study of the Mapuche community of Llaguepulli in the territory of Lago Budi in southern Chile I was able to understand the various perspectives that existed within the community towards its relationship with the state. I learned that because of the complex identities of the community members and their definitions of a Mapuche resistance, their distinct perspectives are able to coexist and their distinct strategies able to complement each other depending on the goal in question.


Growth and Development | Inequality and Stratification | Latin American Studies | Policy Design, Analysis, and Evaluation | Political Science | Politics and Social Change