• Indigenous peoples in Chile

    Indigenous peoples in Chile

    There are 10 different indigenous groups in Chile. The largest one is Mapuche, followed by the Aymara, the Diaguita, the Lickanantay, and the Quechua peoples. Chile is the only country in Latin America that does not recognise the indigenous peoples in its constitution.
  • Peoples

    1,565,915 indigenous peoples and 10 different indigenous groups live in Chile
  • Rights

    2007: Chile adopts the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples
  • Current state

    The main challenges for the Mapuche include claiming their rights to land and territories.

The Indigenous World 2021: Chile

Despite being in constant increase since the 1990s, the Indigenous population of Chile has not varied greatly since the 2017 census, resulting in 2,185,792 people self-identifying as Indigenous, or the equivalent of 12.8% of the country’s total population of 17,076,076. The Mapuche are the most numerous (almost 1,800,000 individuals), followed by the Aymara (156,000) and the Diaguita (88,000).[1] There has been a notable and sustained increase in the proportion of Indigenous population living in urban areas, with 87.8% of Indigenous members now living in cities compared to 12.2% living in the countryside.[2]

Law 19,253 of 1993 on the Promotion, Protection and Development of Indigenous Peoples, or the “Indigenous Law” has not been amended to date, even though reform is urgently needed to bring it into line with current international standards on the rights of Indigenous Peoples, such as ILO Convention 169, ratified by Chile in 2008. Chile has also adopted the 2007 United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP) and the 2016 American Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.

Following the social protests that broke out in the country from October 2019 onward demanding in-depth institutional change, and with approval given for the drafting of a new constitution in a referendum held in October 2020, there is now a new opportunity opening up for the recognition of Indigenous Peoples and their collective rights within the new Political Constitution.

Indigenous Peoples and COVID-19

As in other countries, Chile’s Indigenous Peoples are one of the groups most vulnerable to the COVID-19 pandemic.[3] This is due to the structural inequalities they face in terms of accessing services; the burden of diseases such as diabetes and high blood pressure as a result of dietary changes forced on them by the reduction in their territories;[4] and the economic downturn, which does not bode at all well for their communities.[5]

Against this backdrop, the national COVID-19 strategy has involved no differentiated approach for Indigenous Peoples, nor has there been any official data on the pandemic’s impact on these peoples.[6] And nor have they been called upon to participate in the state's response to the pandemic.[7] Within this scenario, mention should be made of the situation of the Yagán community of Puerto Williams, in Magallanes, for whom COVID-19 has become a new threat to their very survival.[8] In addition, the region has the highest cumulative rate of infection per 100,000 inhabitants in the country: 11,430.1 compared to the national average of 3,950.3.[9] This community in Puerto Williams comprises only 94 people, ten of whom are elderly, including Cristina Calderón, 92 years of age and who is the last native speaker of her people. In a press statement, the community called on the authorities to reinstate the lockdown on Navarino Island until infected people could be identified and isolated; to establish protocols to ensure that economic activity did not speed up transmission of the disease; and to draw up a special protocol, with the consent of the community, to provide adequate assistance to its members.[10]

The pandemic has also had a strong impact on Indigenous women, who face an enormous workload, being responsible for the care and food security of their families and communities. Such is the case, for example, of the Mapuche vegetable growers who market their produce in the town of Temuco, and whose work as micro-producers and vendors took a turn for the worse during the pandemic when they found themselves in a disadvantaged and vulnerable situation: they were unable to sell their produce and thus earn an income.[11] This situation worsened when, once the first lockdown was lifted in Temuco, they were strongly and violently repressed by the police as they began to resume selling their produce in the town centre, preventing them from working, arresting three of them, and seizing and destroying their merchandise.

The Environmental Assessment Service (SEA), however, did not generally suspend the processing deadlines for projects subject to environmental assessment where consultation processes were already underway. On the contrary, they tried to continue them remotely, ignoring the digital divide and the reality of many Indigenous communities. This was the case of the Atacameño community of Peine and the Environmental Impact Study for a continuation of the Zaldívar mining company’s operations.[12] Moreover, the number of investment projects submitted for Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) between March and May 2020 doubled compared to the same time period in 2019 and 2018.[13]

Given this situation, the different peoples and communities have been protecting themselves from the pandemic by establishing territorial controls, erecting sanitary cordons or self-quarantining, as was the case, for example, in the Mapuche-Williche communities of Lake Maihue (Los Ríos region),[14] and in the communities that make up the Council of Atacameño Peoples (Antofagasta region). The Council issued a public statement to announce the closure of all tourist centres and demanded that the Soquimich (SQM) and Albemarle mining companies – the two largest lithium companies in the country – minimise the flow of personnel for prevention purposes since their operations were carried out in the vicinity of the communities.[15] Among Indigenous Peoples’ other responses to the pandemic were barter networks, local fairs for the marketing of their produce, and the use and dissemination of their traditional medicine.

The constitutional process

After the social protests of October 2019, in which citizens expressed their concern at the injustices and exclusions existing in the country, including that of Indigenous Peoples, and at the persistence of the institutional structures of the dictatorship (1980 Constitution), the political actors agreed on a timetable for a referendum to decide whether Chile should have a new constitution and if so, what sort of body should produce it. Although initially scheduled for April 2020, this referendum had to be postponed until October 2020 due to the pandemic. The result was categorical with nearly 80% of voters in favour of a new constitution, and the same percentage agreeing that it should be drafted by a Constitutional Assembly, 100% elected by the citizens, and not by a Mixed Assembly including parliamentarians.

Indigenous views on this process and on their participation, however, were varied. On the one hand, the current constitution does not have a mechanism that would enable Indigenous Peoples’ participation in this process. On the other, several Mapuche organisations made known their scepticism given that similar constituent processes in Latin America, in which Indigenous rights and plurinationality were recognised, have not resulted in any real transformation of state structures. They also argued that Indigenous Peoples already enjoy the right to self-determination, and therefore do not require that this right be recognised by the state.[16] Other organisations representing the country’s different Indigenous Peoples (Mapuche, Aymara, Atacameño, etc.) expressed their support for Indigenous participation in the process, not only as a way of ensuring recognition of Indigenous Peoples in the constitution, together with the rights that have been recognised them internationally, but also because of the plurinational nature of the state.

These organisations promoted a constitutional reform that would ensure reserved seats proportional to the size of their population in the Constitutional Assembly to be elected in April 2021. After almost a year of debate, Parliament approved this reform, reserving a total of 17 seats (seven for the Mapuche people, two for the Aymara people and one for each of the other peoples recognised in the law) out of the total of 155 assembly members to be elected. [17]

However, the number of seats reserved for Indigenous Peoples is not proportional to the size of their population (12.8% total population), excludes the Afro-descendant tribal people recognised by law in 2020,[18] requires identification by the state to vote in a national countrywide Indigenous district (ignoring the necessary self-identification criteria) and was late in terms of enabling the registration of Indigenous candidates; nonetheless in less than a month there were a total of 185 assembly candidates registered from across the Indigenous Peoples.[19] This is an historic milestone as it will be the first time that Indigenous Peoples in Chile will participate, together with the Chilean people, in the drafting of a fundamental charter to establish a new basis for interethnic and intercultural coexistence and hopefully recognise their collective rights as peoples.

Criminalisation of Indigenous social protest

The policy of criminalising Mapuche social protest, the excessive use of force to repress it and the militarisation of communities continued and even worsened during 2020. In addition, because of the pandemic Mapuche prisoners faced serious threat to their life and health due to the poor sanitary conditions and overcrowding of prisons, being held for long periods of preventive detention or handed down disproportionate sentences due to the criminalisation of their social protest. This situation led the Mapuche prisoners held in Angol Prison to go on hunger strike for more than 114 days,[20] and they were also joined in this by those being held in Temuco and Lebu prisons.

The strikers’ demands related to conditions inside the prisons and, in turn, the need for a change in precautionary measures and the way their sentences were served in the context of the pandemic, so that they could be served in their communities in accordance with ILO Convention No. 169. In addition they claimed the status of political prisoners, since they are deprived of their liberty for crimes related to the Mapuche people’s territorial claims following questionable judicial proceedings in terms of due process.

One emblematic case was that of Machi Celestino Córdova who, after 107 days of hunger strike, decided to end his fast on 18 August on coming to an understanding with the Ministry of Justice. In the agreement,[21] some of his demands were partially accepted, especially his transfer to the Centro de Estudios y Trabajos (CET), a semi-open prison, and authorisation to perform a ceremony in his rewe Mapuche sacred altar. In addition, measures were taken to improve prison conditions for Mapuche deprived of their liberty. In the case of the other strikers, the government’s intransigence meant that no agreement was reached, which forced them to end their strikes with serious detriment to their health.

The hunger strike was accompanied by various demonstrations and occupations of public institutions by their relatives and supporters. These were repressed by the police force and resulted in numerous injuries,[22] accompanied by arbitrary arrests for alleged crimes of public disorder.

One of the most serious cases occurred on the night of 1 August when, during the curfew, and without any authorisation to meet, a large number of people armed with sticks, iron bars and even firearms gathered outside the municipal offices of Victoria and Curacautín, occupied by Mapuche people in support of the strikers, in order to evict them from the building. The violent eviction in Curacautín took place in the presence of police officers who were at the site. They actively participated and did not prevent the racist beatings, insults and threats to which Mapuche men, women and children were subjected. Meanwhile, armed civilian groups gathered in front of the Victoria municipal building and, with racist shouts, proceeded to set fire to a Mapuche rewe set up in the town’s main square.[23] It should further be noted that the only people arrested for the events that took place that night were Mapuche. They were taken before the judge the next day for crimes of public disorder, damage, occupation of public offices and attacks or threats against authorities.

The government made no effort to lay responsibility at the feet of anyone other than the Mapuche for these violent acts, making it clear that we are facing a structural racism that is embedded not only in the police but which is supported and justified by the central authority itself, as it has to date not filed any legal action against the armed civilians or against the police, who acted outside of all protocols.

Peoples in northern Chile

Regarding the mining conflicts affecting Andean peoples in the north of the country, it is worth noting the jurisprudential developments that have taken place over the last year, with some progress in protecting their rights. Indeed, as noted in The Indigenous World 2020, in December 2019 the First Environmental Court passed judgment in environmental sanction proceedings brought against the company SQM Salar S.A. (SQM), a lithium producer based in the Atacama Salt Flats. They partially accepted the claims of the Atacama people’s communities and recognised the effects on the water systems of the salt flats. In accordance with the precautionary environmental principle, however, the measures and actions presented by the offending company in a Compliance Programme aimed at reversing the damage caused, among other things, by the extraction of brine and fresh water, should have been disregarded.

Despite the severity of the impacts on the Atacama Salt Flats, which have endured this type of extraction of large volumes of water for two decades, this ruling was appealed both by the Environmental Superintendency (SMA), which had previously approved the Compliance Programme, and by the company.[24] Nevertheless, the day before the case was to be heard in the Supreme Court, both the SMA and SQM withdrew their respective appeals, alluding to an out-of-court agreement reached with one of the parties, which turned out to be one of the Atacama communities.[25] The judgment of the Environmental Court therefore became final and enforceable, fulfilling all its legal effects. This case is notable as one of the highlights of 2020.[26]

It should be noted that, following the ruling, the Council of Atacameño Peoples called for compliance. At the same time, it also requested that the SMA reopen sanction proceedings which, in the case of a very serious infraction by the company, as is the case here, could result in the imposition of the highest sanction established by the legal system, the revocation of the company’s environmental licence. This could quite possibly result in the termination of the state’s contracts with SQM and would open up a possible whole new debate on the ownership of lithium as a strategic mineral. In this regard, the SMA does indeed have the power to and the possibility of sanctioning SQM; however, the agreement reached with one of the communities does partially reduce the likelihood of imposing such a severe sanction on the lithium company.

In addition, the environmental damage lawsuit filed by the State Defence Council (CDE), which involved the Council of Atacameño Peoples and the Atacama communities, against Minera Escondida Limitada (operated by BHP Billiton) is noteworthy. The company is being sued for the negative impacts in the Punta Negra Salt Flats of the extraction of fresh water for its copper production operations, extractions that occurred between 1997 and 2017. The plaintiff has argued in this regard that the damaged aquifer may eventually recover in a hundred years, but this will have had a severe impact on the flora and fauna of the fragile desert ecosystem, in addition to its impact on the way of life of the Atacama communities. The legal action was filed before the court and several steps have already been taken to resolve the matter.[27]

Finally, it is worth noting some recent rulings by the Supreme Court,[28] all dated 12 February 2020, requested by Aymara community members (Indigenous Historical and Heritage Community of the Aymara People of Tiacolpa) and based on ancestral use. In these rulings, which expressly referred to ILO Convention No. 169, Indigenous ancestral ownership was recognised and it was ruled that the claimed surface water use rights should be registered in the name of the petitioners, community members of the Aymara people.

Southern groups

In the southern areas, now known as Patagonia, there are currently Mapuche-Williche, Kawésqar and Yagán peoples,[29] all of them recognised by the “Indigenous Law” (Law 19,253). According to the 2017 census, the Kawésqar people represent 0.16% of the country's total Indigenous population with 3,448 people and the Yagán people 0.07% with 1,600 people. There is no record of the Mapuche-Williche (southern Mapuche) population, as the census does not distinguish between the different territorial identities of the Mapuche people. Like all of Chile’s Indigenous Peoples, those who self-identify as belonging to the Yagán and Kawésqar peoples are currently spread across all regions of the country, albeit concentrated in urban areas, especially in the Metropolitan Region. According to the 2017 census, 28% of the Kawésqar people (955 people) and 19% of the Yagán people (306 people) live in the Magallanes region where their ancestral territories of use and occupation are located.[30]

Given the geography of the territory, characterised by a vast archipelago with extensive channels and fjords, the southern peoples - formerly nomadic and seafaring - have maintained a close relationship with the marine and coastal space, which are home to their livelihoods and worldview. The ancestral territory of the Mapuche-Williche people is located between the Chiloé archipelago and the Golfo de Penas, the Kawésqar territory between the Golfo de Penas and the Strait of Magellan and the Yagán territory south of Tierra del Fuego between the Beagle Channel and Cape Horn. Due to the features of these territories, they also present a high interest for biodiversity conservation and, at the same time, for the salmon industry. Several State Protected Wildlife Areas (ASPE), both marine and terrestrial, thus overlap with the ancestral territory of the southern peoples, as does the salmon industry, both of which have significant impacts on the livelihoods of these peoples. Although they have contributed to slowing the expansion of the salmon industry and protecting the biodiversity of the territory - as have most protected areas in the world - these ASPEs were created without the free, prior and informed consent of these peoples, and they are to this day shut out of their governance and management, with the exception of a few incipient initiatives that are seeking to change this trend.

In this context, Law 20,249 creating the Marine Coastal Spaces of Indigenous Peoples (ECMPO), known as the “Lafkenche Law”, has emerged as an alternative of growing interest in the control and safeguarding of the territories of coastal Indigenous communities. Its objective is to “safeguard the customary use of these spaces in order to maintain the traditions and natural resource use of the communities linked to the coastal areas” (Art. 3). However, enforcement of this law has been slow and arbitrary. As of January 2020, of the 93 ECMPOs requested by coastal communities throughout Chile, 65% (60 ECMPOs) were located in southern peoples’ territories. In addition, only 13 (five of them in southern territories) have obtained their designation decrees, all of them after long and bureaucratic processing periods exceeding four years.[31] The Indigenous communities have encountered various obstacles to the application of this law[32] mainly due to the overlapping interests of the aquaculture and fishing industry. In addition, Indigenous communities have received little support from the state in their requests for an ECMPO, having to face these processes alone by creating alliances between communities. Despite the difficulties, ECMPO applications have had the practical effect of slowing down the expansion of the salmon industry into the fjords and canals of Chilean Patagonia. This situation is now being recognised by conservation organisations, who are viewing the ECMPOs as a tool for biodiversity protection that respects and guarantees the rights of Indigenous Peoples.[33]


Written by José Aylwin, Marcel Didier, Hernando Silva, Karina Vargas and Lorena Arce, members of Observatorio Ciudadano (www.observatorio.cl).

This article is part of the 35th edition of The Indigenous World, a yearly overview produced by IWGIA that serves to document and report on the developments Indigenous Peoples have experienced.  Find The Indigenous World 2021 in full here

Notes and references 

[1] National Institute for Statistics (INE), 2018 Síntesis de resultados Censo 2017. Available at: https://www.censo2017.cl/descargas/home/sintesis-de-resultados-censo2017.pdf

[2] Ibid cit.

[3] Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC) and others. El impacto del

COVID-19 en los pueblos indígenas de América Latina-Abya Yala: entre la invisibilización y la resistencia colectiva. Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC), Santiago, 2020. Available at: https://www.cepal.org/es/publicaciones/46543-impacto-covid-19-pueblos-indigenas-america-latina-abya-yala-la- invisibilizacion

[4] Paula Huenchumil. “Si la desigualdad ha aflorado más con la pandemia, en la población mapuche el estrago es peor” [The pandemic has highlighted inequalities but they are far worse in the Mapuche population]. Viviendo al día, 11 May 2020. Available at: https://infoinvi.uchilefau.cl/entrevista-a-andres-cuyul-covid-19-en-la-araucania-si-la-desigualdad-ha-aflorado-mas-con-la-pandemia-en-la-poblacion-mapuche-el-estrago-es-peor/

[5] Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC) and others (2020), op cit.

[6] According to a report of the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC) and others (2020), cited above, the health services or authorities in some regions, such as the Araucanía Norte Health Service, the Arica Health Service and the Health SEREMI of the Arica and Parinacota Region, did produce audiovisual materials and worked on a protocol of recommendations for the Indigenous population but, almost a year after the start of the pandemic, this latter is still not available.

[7] Observatorio Ciudadano y otros. “Emergencia sanitaria en el contexto de la pandemia por Covid-19 en Chile y su impacto en los derechos de los pueblos originarios”. June 2020. Available at: https://observatorio.cl/covid-19-entregan-informe-sobre-situacion-de-pueblos-indigenas-en-chile-a-relator-especial-de-naciones-unidas/

[8] Along with assimilation policies, diseases resulting from bacteriological contact with navigators, missionaries and settlers arriving in the area brought the Yagán people to near extinction. See “Comunicado de alerta de la Comunidad Indígena Yagán de Bahía Mejillones frente al COVID-19” [COVID-19 alert from the Yagán Indigenous community of Bahía Mejillones]. Observatorio Ciudadano, 21 April 2020. Available at: https://observatorio.cl/comunicado-de-alerta-de-la-comunidad-indigena-yagan-de-bahia-mejillones-frente-al-covid-19/

[9] Informe epidemiológico COVID-19. Ministry of Health, 18 January 2021. Available at https://www.minsal.cl/wp-content/uploads/2021/01/Informe-Epidemiologico-87.pdf

[10] Ibid.

[11] Observatorio Ciudadano and others. June 2020, “Emergencia sanitaria…”, op cit.

[12] Ibid. Cit.
[13] Lucio Cuenca Berger. “Informe sobre ingreso abusivo de proyectos al Sistema de Evaluación de Impacto Ambiental (SEIA) en tiempos de Pandemia”. OLCA, 20 May 2020. Available at http://olca.cl/articulo/nota.php?id=107913

[14] El control territorial de las comunidades mapuche del Lago Maihue para defenderse del COVID-19” [Territorial control of the Mapuche communities of Lake Maihue to defend themselves from COVID-19”. Mapuexpress, 5 May 2020. Available at: https://www.mapuexpress.org/2020/05/05/el-control-territorial-de-las-comunidades-mapuche-del-lago-maihue-para-defenderse-del-covid-19/

[15] Observatorio Ciudadano and others. June 2020, “Emergencia sanitaria…”, op cit.

[16] Nicolás Romero. “Aucán Huilcamán: ’El Estado Plurinacional no ha resuelto nada en relación a los pueblos indígenas’” [Aucán Huilcamán: 'The Plurinational State has resolved nothing in relation to the Indigenous Peoples’]. Revista de Frente, 3 February 2020. Available at: http://revistadefrente.cl/aucan-huilcaman-el-estado-plurinacional-no-ha-resuelto-nada-en-relacion-a-los-pueblos-indigenas/

[17] “Carta pública ante nulo avance de reforma constitucional sobre escaños reservados y participación de pueblos originario en el Congreso Nacional” [Public letter on the lack of progress in the constitutional reform on reserved seats and participation of Indigenous Peoples in the National Congress]. Observatorio Ciudadano, 14 October 2020. Available at https://observatorio.cl/carta-publica-ante-nulo-avance-de-reforma-constitucional-sobre-escanos-reservados-y-participacion-de-pueblos-originarios-en-el-congreso-nacional/

[18] “Afrodescendientes presentan recurso de protección en contra de la Cámara de Diputados y la Ministra de Desarrollo Social” [Afro-descendants file appeal for constitutional protection against the Chamber of Deputies and the Minister of Social Development]. Observatorio Ciudadano, 14 January 2021. Available at https://observatorio.cl/afrodescendientes-presentan-recurso-de-proteccion-en-contra-de-la-camara-de-diputados-y-la-ministra-de-desarrollo-social/

[19] Of these, 12 were rejected for not meeting the requirements established by the Electoral Service for these purposes. See https://www.servel.cl/resoluciones-de-aceptacion-y-rechazo-de-candidaturas-elecciones-abril-2021/

[20] “Huelga de hambre de presos mapuche: ¿quiénes son los ocho de la cárcel de Angol?”. [Hunger strike by Mapuche prisoners: who are the eight in Angol prison?]. Interferencia, 25 August 2020. Available at https://interferencia.cl/articulos/huelga-de-hambre-de-presos-mapuche-quienes-son-los-ocho-de-la-carcel-de-angol

[21] Document available at https://radio.uchile.cl/wp-content/uploads/2020/08/Carta-2020.08.17.pdf

[22] Among the best-known cases are that of lonko Juan Nahuelpi of Lof Liukura de Lumako, injured by pellets in the face on 6 August, and Teresa Marín, mother of Camilo Catrillanca, a young man killed by police in 2018, who was temporarily blinded after receiving pepper spray directly into her eyes from police officers after a protest in Temuco on 16 September.

[23] Aylwin, José, “Conflicto interétnico y odio racial en la Araucanía” [Interethnic conflict and racial hatred in Araucanía]. In El Mostrador, 5 August 2020. Available at https://www.elmostrador.cl/destacado/2020/08/05/conflicto-interetnico-y-odio-racial-en-la-araucania/

[24] “SMA apela a fallo del Tribunal Ambiental y defiende plan de SQM en el Salar de Atacama” [SMA appeals Environmental Court ruling and defends SQM's plan in the Atacama Salt Flats]. La Tercera, 15 January 2020. Available at https://www.latercera.com/pulso/noticia/sma-apela-fallo-del-tribunal-ambiental-defiende-plan-sqm-salar-atacama/974447/

[25] Azócar, Vanessa y Cárdenas, Leonardo. “$1.700 millones por la paz en el Salar de Atacama: SQM llega a acuerdo con comunidad indígena en proceso por uso de aguas” [US 1,700 million for peace in Atacama Salt Flats. SQM reaches agreement with Indigenous community in water use lawsuit]. La Tercera, 21 August 2020. Available at https://www.latercera.com/la-tercera-pm/noticia/1700-millones-por-la-paz-en-el-salar-de-atacama-sqm-llega-a-acuerdo-con-comunidad-atacamena-en-proceso-judicial-por-uso-de-aguas/X7PD6BBCM5EBRJ654SEAB343UM/

[26] “Chile: las 10 historias ambientales que marcaron el 2020” [Chile: the 10 environmental stories that marked 2020]. Mongabay Latam, 23 December 2020. Available at https://es.mongabay.com/2020/12/chile-las-10-historias-ambientales-que-marcaron-el-2020/-. See also: Carrera, Michelle. “Chile: ¿Qué está en juego en el Salar de Atacama?” [Chile: What’s at stake in the Atacama Salt Flats?] Mongabay Latam, 3 September 2020. Available at: https://es.mongabay.com/2020/09/chile-que-esta-en-juego-en-el-salar-de-atacama/

[27] First Environmental Court accepts environmental damage lawsuit against Hidden Mining. First Environmental Court, 14 April 2020. Available at https://www.1ta.cl/primer-tribunal-ambiental-acoge-a-tramite-demanda-por-dano-ambiental-en-contra-de-minera-escondida/

[28] Case Roll Nos. 12.290-2019, 12.988-2019, 14.162-2019.

[29] This vast territory has been inhabited by different peoples for more than 10,000 years, including, along the coast from north to south, the Mapuche-Williche (or Veliche), Chono, Kawésqar (or Alacalufes) and Yagán (or Yámana) peoples; and in the continental steppe zone, the Aónikenk (or Tehuelche) peoples and in Tierra del Fuego, the Selk'nam (or Onas) and Haush (or Mánekenks). However, these identities are complex and comprised a range of sub-identities with their own shifting boundaries.

[30] National Institute of Statistics (INE). Radiografía de Género: Pueblos Originarios 2017. December 2018. Available at https://historico-amu.ine.cl/genero/files/estadisticas/pdf/documentos/radiografia-de-genero-pueblos-originarios-chile2017.pdf

[31] Meza-Lopehandía, M. “La Ley Lafkenche. Análisis y perspectivas a 10 años de su entrada en vigor”. Biblioteca del Congreso Nacional de Chile, Asesoría Técnica Parlamentaria, June 2018. Available at https://www.bcn.cl/obtienearchivo?id=repositorio/10221/25431/1/BCN___FINAL___La_Ley_Lafkenche_10_anos_despues_2018.pdf

[32] Villalobos, María Paz. “La torcida aplicación de la Ley Lafkenche” [The tortuous application of the Lafkenche Law]. El Desconcierto, 2 February 2021. Available at https://www.eldesconcierto.cl/opinion/2021/02/02/la-torcida-aplicacion-de-la-ley-lafkenche.html

[33] See for example: https://science.sciencemag.org/content/370/6517/669.2/tab-e-letters



IWGIA - International Work Group for Indigenous Affairs - is a global human rights organisation dedicated to promoting, protecting and defending indigenous peoples’ rights. Read more.

Indigenous World

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