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The province of Mendoza declares that Mapuches “are non-Argentine native peoples”

The provincial Chamber of Mendoza (western Argentina) approved a declaration considering the Mapuches as “non-Argentine native peoples”.

The challenged community claims that the initiative is aimed at appropriating ancestral territories granted to them by the federal government.

The bill, sponsored by the governor of Mendoza, Rodolfo Suárez, considers that “the Mapuches should not be considered Argentine native peoples”.

provincial Chamber, The province of Mendoza declares that Mapuches “are non-Argentine native peoples”
The initiative ignores the ethnic pre-existence of the Mapuche people in the area, recognized by the Argentine constitution (Photo internet reproduction)

The Mendoza legislature approved the bill with 30 votes in favor, eight against, and six abstentions.

The resolution received the support of former President Mauricio Macri (2015-2019) on social networks.

The Mapuche communities denounce that this measure would cement the removal of ancestral lands ceded by the national government in February 2023 and reaffirm the “structural racism” in Argentina, according to local newspaper Página 12.

The initiative ignores the ethnic pre-existence of the Mapuche people in the area, recognized by the Argentine constitution.

It also questions the recognition that the South American nation’s National Institute of Indigenous Affairs (INAI) made in February to Mapuche communities on territories in Mendoza.

“I requested the Government Counsel and the State Attorney’s Office to carry out the necessary procedures before the competent bodies to declare the unconstitutionality of the national resolutions that have determined the delivery of lands in the South of the province”.

The declaration, described as “racist and negationist”, rejects the extensions to the land eviction sentences and questions the recognition of the Argentine State in favor of the communities of the indigenous ethnicity, “in tune with the right-wing ideology that points against the Mapuche community as the internal enemy”, highlights Página 12.

Mapuche representatives warn that the declaration of the provincial Chamber “promotes the confrontation of Mendoza society with hate speeches towards the Mapuche community”.

They maintain that they will take the case to international instances.

The provincial congressman for the Frente de Todos, José Luis Ramón, regretted the declaration:

“It denies the Mapuche and all the native communities”.

“It seems that we are debating things that were resolved centuries ago”, added the congressman.

Mapuche spokesman Fabricio Silva, from the We Newen community, stressed:

“We vote, pay taxes and fulfill our obligations as Argentine citizens. We are Mapuche, and we have Argentine citizenship”.

“Being Argentine has nothing to do with not being indigenous, and being indigenous has nothing to do with not being Argentine”, expressed Silva.

The indigenous spokesman indicated that the provincial declaration was perceived “as very violent”, given that it is “an attempt to foreignize the indigenous identity”.

In February 2023, the national government awarded territories to Mapuche communities in the Mendoza areas of San Rafael and Malargüe, near the Vaca Muerta gas project.

Upon learning of the resolution, the governor of Mendoza stated that the lands were awarded to “pseudo-Mapuches”. He omitted the due participation of the Province, municipalities involved, and “third parties with legitimate interests”.

“About 100 files are waiting to be resolved for the recognition of lands,” Silva considered after warning that the provincial declaration intends to slow down the process of awarding lands to the communities registered for that purpose.

“They are all expressions of negationist desires”, affirmed congressman José Luis Ramón, who will seek to open “a criminal investigation on the matter because this is a clear fact of negation, xenophobia and racism”.

The werkén Silva pointed out that “archeologists and anthropologists backed up the stories of our elders”.

“Even researchers from the Argentine National Council of Scientific and Technical Research (Conicet) determined that the Mapuche people have been present in the region for more than 14,000 years before the province of Mendoza and the Republic of Argentina existed.”

With information from Sputnik

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