On May 21st, Chile’s President Piñera gave his annual address in front of Congress for the final time before his term ends. The address is given annually and highlights both accomplishments from the previous year as well as goals for the forthcoming year. In this year’s address (full address in Spanish can be found here), Piñera offerred a few words about Chile’s indigenous groups and his administration’s goals with respect to those peoples. Roughly translated, Piñera said:
More than one million Chileans identify with our native peoples: the Aymara, Atacameños, Quechua, Diaguitas, Collas, Rapa Nui, Mapuches, Alacalufes [Kawashkar] or Yaganes. However, we know that many members of our indigenous peoples have not had the opportunities for progress they need and that our abilities allow.
For this reason, we initiated a New Deal with our indigenous peoples; and just as their cultural heritage is based on four pillars: earth, air, water and fire; our New Deal was also based on four pillars: First, a constitutional reform that recognizes that under one nation, one territory and under the jurisdiction and sovereignty of one State, exist various ethnic entities with different cultures, making our country a multicultural nation. Second, leave behind the strategy of assimilation and replace it with a true integration, which requires a new and agreed upon consultation mechanism, as well as the creation of a council of indigenous peoples. Third, promote economic and social development to reducing the gaps and making up for lost time. And fourth, recognize the value of, and promote, the history, culture, traditions and language of indigenous peoples.