Benetton vs. Mapuche: land recovery in Patagonia
On February 14th 2007, members of the Mapuche People recovered the land known as "Santa Rosa". Since 2002, when the Curiñanco-Nahuelquir family was evicted from this land due to a legal claim set by Benetton, this place has become a symbol of the struggle to recover the territory and the identity of this Native People.
On February 14th, tens of inhabitants of this area arrived at this piece of land before dawn to carry out a traditional Mapuche ceremony in which they asked for permission of the forces of Nature to interact with them.
Later, an act was read, through which all the present members were constituted as a community, as well as a proclamation.
Mapuche Proclamation for the Recovery of the Santa Rosa Lands
by Pueblo Nación Mapuche
Mapuche Santa Rosa Leleque Community – Cushamen, Province of Chubut, Patagonia February 14th 2007.
To the Pu peñi pu lamuen,
To the non Mapuche partners and friends,
To the men and women of good will,
To the Human Rights Organizations,
To the National and provincial governments,
To whom receives this claim in any part of the world:
The Leleque Mountains, the Chubut River, the perpetual wind of this corner of the Wallmapu, ancestral mapuche territory, are witnesses of our return to this small portion of the Mapu that was never abandoned, always remembered.
Santa Rosa awakens in all of us, members of different lofche (Mapuche communities), the search for the historic truth. Santa Rosa witnessed decades of plundering, of violence, of intolerance, of usurpation, of disappearances, and of death. The Futakecheyem (The Ancient), men and women who walked freely over this land, today lie in showcases of museums, and their sacred instruments are exhibition pieces; silenced by force they are today trophies of a culture that destroys the different: ideas, philosophies, spiritualities, ideologies, and people which are different. However, the footsteps of the Ancient are truly inspiring. We are a consequence of those footprints. We continue being Mapuche and we have the responsibility and the need to reveal the historic truth.
In 2002 a Mapuche family tried to make its dream come true in these lands. This was not possible. The monster that is repression immediately reared its ugly head. Despite all this, they continued dreaming until this cause became a collective and today we all come back to this land to give ourselves an opportunity of community life.
At 90 km from Esquel, at 70 km from El Bolsón, route 40 becomes a border between two modes of life: community life, where a Mapuche community with several families lives in 534 hectares and that of the businessman, Benetton, who does not live there and who assigns himself the right to govern over 900,000 hectares.
Since the territories have been taken away from our people, the landlords have enjoyed impunity, protection of their goods, of their "private property". Is snow private property? Is the wind private property? Is the river private property? Meanwhile, our people have been persecuted, removed, killed, and gathered together in the poorest areas of the cities. On whom can one depend to live in peace? Has democracy ever reached Mapuche people? Will there be trials for the historic truth? The Argentinean Jurisprudence: will it consider the sufferings of our people as an undeniable crime against humanity? Recently, and more often, it is common to hear people talking about human rights: is it that Mapuche are not considered humans? And the Constitution, the International Treaties, the Peace Treaties… are they just empty words?
Because of all of this, today, February 14th, we have returned to Santa Rosa to be what we are: Mapuche, people of the earth.
With this we want to express that all of us have the right to design our own future, that our action can be taken as an inspiration source, as a contribution, as an open space for the participation of everyone who values the cultural diversity. Today we speak up, the ever silenced, to the deaf imposters who have “governed” this country.
Pu peñi, pu lamuen, partners, and friends: this is the time to rewrite our history. We summon all men and women of good will to help us, to accompany us, it depends on all of us, that the Mapu becomes a more hospitable place.
For the Historic Truth. For territory, culture, justice and freedom!!
Marici Weu! Marici Weu! Marici Weu! Marici Weu!