Chilean Indians, like their American counterparts, have been demonstrating for better conditions in their homeland.?
Chilean Indians, like their American counterparts, have been demonstrating for better conditions in their homeland. There are four hundred thousand Indians in the country's ten million population -- a far higher percentage than in the United States -- and their actions have ranged from marches and occupying offices to forcible seizure of land.
The Indians, the Mapuches, fought the invaders of their country for over two hundred years before finally allowing immigrants to settle in their lands in southern Chile in 1877. Before then, they had a number of military victories and in 1554 they captured Pedro de Valdiva, the founder of Santiago, and tortured him to death.
Under the Allende government they say they're getting a better deal than ever before because of land reform and equal opportunity laws but they still want more.
SYNOPSIS: In Santiago, Chilean Indian university students from the influential Mapuche tribe stage a protest dance for better conditions. Although they say they're treated better under the Allende government than ever before, the Indians still want improved conditions.
To this end they've staged marches through the city and radical Mapuches have even taken over farms in Southern Chile. the marchers admit they've gained from the Allende government's land reforms and equal opportunity policy. But they still want better education and an improvement in living conditions, They are also unhappy about some of the officials in charge of them.
When they occupied the Chilean equivalent of the Untied States Bureau of Indian Affairs their demands included the dismissal of several people. But they could only organise a small number of demonstrators in the Chilean Capital, Santiago. Most of their strength in a predominantly white population is in the rural areas of southern Chile.
At their meetings the Mapuches have expressed support for the American Indian Movement and have supported its occupation of Wounded Knee.