According to a report from Radio Bio-Bio, more than 600 Atacameño individuals participated in the Chilean Government’s consultation workshops held in the area last week. The workshops are part of the Chilean Government’s ongoing efforts to arrive at a national consultation policy with Indigenous peoples. Additionally, the workshops focused on the issue of constitutional recognition of Indigenous peoples and the creation of a new agency for Indigenous development. The workshops were the first step in a process, which will involve more meetings in the area in September.
The Government-run workshops took place in Calama, San Pedro de Atacama, and Ayquina, and were attended by several local and national government officials. Among those in attendance was Miguel Araviri, the Regional Secretary Minister of Planning, who praised the high turnout and encouraged all in attendance to “share the information with other members of their communities and to plan for the future according to their own hopes and needs.”
If the reported numbers are correct, it would represent a significant turnout among the Atacameño communities. According to the 2002 Census, there are approximately 21,000 Atacameño individuals in Chile, which means that approximately 2.8% of the total population was in attendance.