On Wedenesday, August 31st, the Mapuche youth who had been peacefully occupying the municipal government building in Ercilla signed a MOU (memorandum of understanding) with regional government officials. The MOU provided for increased Indigenous scholarships, an intercultural school and for continued dialogue on ending the militarization of the region. The agreement ended a peaceful occupation of the city’s municipal building that had been going on for 13 days and that had involved more than 25 Mapuche youth from the community.
Recall that the occupation began on August 19th, and was in direct response to increased violence between police officers and the Mapuche communities in the area. Beginning earlier this week, the Mapuche youth entered into talks with various government officials and, ultimately, Andrés Molina, the Intendente of la Araucanía, as well as José Flores, the Governor of Malleco, were amongst the individuals who signed off on the MOU.
According to Camilo Catrillanca, the spokesperson for the Mapuche students, “We agreed directly on two points, the intercultural school and scholarships for everyone.” About the third point — the increased police presence in the area — Catrillanca stated that, “we’d like to follow up by having a meeting with the judges, [because] they are who give the orders [granting police raids].” Overall, the students indicated they were pleased with the MOU and that they would continue having meetings and pressuring the government to end the violence in the communities.