Majority in Chile believe Mapuche don’t consider themselves ‘Chilean’

Isabel Cocker/The Santiago Times Staff

SANTIAGO – Cadem released this week the results of its most recent survey of public opinion of the Mapuche conflict and surrounding issues, which highlights that only 36% of Chileans believe that the Mapuche feel that they are “Chilean”.

The Mapuche conflict has been constantly in the news over the past month, with burnings of lorries in the Araucanía Region, the hunger strikes of Mapuche prisoners and resulting protest marches.

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The survey by the Chilean research company underlined that 72% of the population believe that the conflict has worsened in the past 3 years, a 10% increase from the previous survey which was released in January.

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Although 59% of those surveyed answered that “yes, there is terrorism in the Araucanía”, only 39% of respondents believe that the government should apply the Anti-terrorism law to pursue any criminal offenses. As part of the same question, 54% responded that any crimes committed should be persecuted under the normal juridical process.

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However, in a more general question about how the conflict should be resolved, 66% believed that the government should use dialogue and diplomacy as a solution. Only 22% of people think that the government should resort to using the Anti-terrorism law to solve the struggle.

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In total, 60% of people are against the intervention of the army in the conflict, compared with 35% who are in support of their involvement.

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In terms of public opinion towards the Mapuche, 97% believe that it is important that the community keeps its traditional values and culture, with 76% feeling that Chile has a historical debt which it owes to the native people. Three quarters of respondents sustained that the Mapuche people are discriminated against by the Chilean people, and a similar quantity also believe that the native communities should have rights to their ancestral lands.