In a press release dated Monday, January 30th, the Mapuche community of María Ancaleo viuda de Amaza was returned 308 hectares (approximately 760 acres) of land. The land was transferred by CONADI (the Chilean government’s Indigenous development corporation) at a cost of US$ 2.08 million. The transfer of the land occurred during a large event that included numerous traditional Mapuche ceremonies. As has been the Chilean government’s policy under the current administration, CONADI promised to provide funding and support to help develop the lands as the community sees fit.
The lands returned in this case include two large parcels–one in the comuna of Victoria and the other in the comuna of Perquenco. Both comunas are located in the Araucanía region of Chile, near Temuco. In total, the lands will benefit the 39 families that make up the Mapuche community of María Ancaleo viuda de Amaza.
In response to the land transfer, Armando García Puran, the community’s lonko (traditional Mapuche leader) expressed his happiness. “This is a great achievement, which took several years but which finally came. We celebrate with such joy–all together as one big family–and now we look forward to working as a community for the benefit of all.”
The community’s president, Roberto Huenchulao Navarrete, echoed the Lonko’s sentiments. “We are proud and honored to have reached this day, after a long journey.” The president went on to say that the land transfer is a beginning upon which “we can keep working” in order to continue improving life for the community.