January 30, 2009 [LINK / comment]

Indigenous politics in Chile

Compared to its neighbors in South America, Chile stands out in several ways. It is one of the most prosperous countries in the continent, and it has made a remarkable transformation over the past two decades from a deeply divided society ruled by a military dictatorship to stable democracy. In cultural and ethnic terms, it is almost as European as Argentina, to the east, with a relatively small indigenous minority. Peru, Ecuador, and Bolivia have significant indigenous rights movements, and thanks to a history teacher named Gustavo Quilaqueo, Chile has begun to emulate that political phenomenon, ironically. He has led in the creation of a political party representing the Mapuche tribe, centered in the province of Araucania, in the cool and moist southern part of Chile. He is aware that it will take several years for the indigenous peoples in Chile to become a major political force. See BBC.