English :: October E-Newsletter
// October 3rd, 2010 // Paula's thoughts...
The early 21st century has seen the emergence of international movements that demand respect for the indigenous peoples of South America. This recent shift of social awareness does not merely arise from the sudden attainment of a higher consciousness, but rather, it is rooted in the realization that the struggles of tribes, that inhabit the Amazon, Bolivia, or Chile, are at the forefront of our global environmental movement–for the way of life of indigenous peoples is focused on honoring and protecting MOTHER EARTH.
For those of us that are horrified at the indiscriminate destruction of our environment, we do not consider further industrialization fitting of the 21st century, but rather, we see the way of life of the indigenous groups as the path to the future.
You might have heard that in Chile 34 Mapuches risked their own lives in an 82-day hunger strike. At the crux of the matter was their demand for reforms to the Anti-terrorist Laws that date back to the Pinochet dictatorship, and are indiscriminately applied to Mapuches that claim their ancestral land. Note: I’ve just learned that the Chilean government has taken action and the Mapuche political prisoners will not be tried as terrorists. For further reading click here.
The Mapuches are semi-nomads, never set out to conquer other tribes, and their spiritual leader is the Machi–a woman! She interprets dreams, wards off evil, and cures illnesses, as she has thorough knowledge of healing herbs. The Mapuche symbology is extraordinary, for samples click here.
Much to my surprise, upon researching for this post, I discovered that the prestigious Italian pen manufacturer, Delta, added to its collection the “Mapuche Indigenous People” fountain pen. Check it out. It’s beautiful. But, did Delta pay the Mapuche people royalties for the use of their symbols and name? Probably not! The gold fountain pen retails for 1K, yet the Mapuche people live in some of the harshest conditions imaginable. The Mapuches are far from interested in our way of life, …our royalty laws, our fences, and so on… however, our way of life has, and is, infringing on theirs… for centuries.
For those of you not familiar with the Mapuche’s extraordinary history, neither the Incas nor the Spanish conquered them. The war between Colonial Spaniards and Mapuches, the Arauco War, is said to have lasted three centuries and ended in treaties… that were never honored, and are now coming back to hunt the Chilean State. You could say this is an ongoing war…
However, an extraordinary turn of events that is quite telling is the national support the strikers got from all sectors of Chilean society… including congressmen, priests, artists, and of course poets, the renowned Nicanor Parra.
Paula Tejeda Rieloff