In a press release dated September 27th, CONADI (the Chilean Indigenous development corporation) announced that it had invested 420 million pesos (approximately US$ 885,000) for land purchases in Ercilla. Specifically, the money was given to two Mapuche communities — “Alex Lemun” and “Tricauco 2″ — so that they can purchase lands for their people. In total, twenty-five families will receive lands and CONADI will follow-up with funds to help develop that land as needed.
The land purchases will occur in the comuna of Ercilla, an area that has experienced a lot of violence between Mapuche communities and Chilean police officers. But, according to the press release, the ceremony that transferred the money for land purchases went smoothly and was a joyous one. According to Luis Alberto Toledo Toro, the president of the Mapuche community of Tricauco 2, the communities had been working through the Chilean system for over ten years to get their lands back and they “struggled to do so in order that we may cultivate the land, have it be productive so we can raise animals and fish in our own territory”.
The ceremony took place at Liceo Alonso in Ercilla and included not only the Mapuche community leaders and members from the families who would benefit, but also government representatives such as CONADI’s national sub-director for the southern part of the country, the governor of the province of Malleco, and the sub-secretary of Social Services in Chile.