In two separate ceremonies that took place this month, CONADI (Chile’s Indigenous development corporation) returned land to various Mapuche communities. The first ceremony involved more than 730 hectares (1,800 acres) of lands being returned to 91 Mapuche families in the Biobío Region of the country. The second ceremony returned to the Mapuche community of Colico over 200 hectares (500 acres) of land after a wait of more than 17 years.
The first land transfer ceremony took place in Cañete earlier this month. According to the CONADI press release dated January 12th, the ceremony was very emotional as land titles were given to 91 Mapuche families in the area. In addition to the titles, the Chilean government stated that they would continue to help provide support for the development of land. In total, the lands cost more than US$ 3.6 million.
The second land transfer ceremony took place on January 21st in the comuna of Pitrufquén. After waiting more than 17 years to get their land claim realized, the Mapuche community of Colico was provided with approximately 213 hectares (525 acres) of land. More than 200 individuals attended the ceremony in which the Mapuche community installed a rewe (a Mapuche altar) on their land. In total, the land will benefit 18 Mapuche families and, as with the land transfer earlier this month, the Chilean government expressed its intention in assisting with any land development needs that may arise. To purchase these lands, the Chilean government spent just over one million U.S. dollars.
The CONADI press releases noted that last year the government agency spent 100% of the funds allocated to it for land purchases during 2011. Additionally, the agency indicates that land claims from 115 communities have already been given priority for 2012.