The president of Chile, Sebastián Piñera, announced recognition measures for indigenous peoples, which include the National Day of Indigenous Peoples, the protection of its cultural heritage, a greater integration in education and housing solutions.
The president made these announcements after visiting some Mapuche communities in the southern region of Araucanía, where he signed a bill that establishes a holiday on June 24 as it is the National Day of Indigenous Peoples.
The choice of that day responds to the fact that it is the date on which various renewal ceremonies of the cycle of nature are held in various original towns of the country, like the Mapuche, Aymara, Quechua and Rapa Nui.
“We know we have a debt with our native peoples, we know it and that debt dragged on for many decades, even for many centuries. However, I am convinced that the only solution is to seek dialogue and agreements between all of us who share a history and share a future, “said the president.
Piñera also signed an instruction for government officials to recognize the traditions and culture of the communities when greeting and saying goodbye, and promulgated a decree to include the subject of Indigenous Language and Culture in the first years of schooling.
Victims of violence
Likewise, it promised to advance in a bill of Indigenous Heritage that will incorporate the cultural heritage material and immaterial and norms for the restitution of cultural property, among others, and to implement housing solutions for these peoples.
The Chilean president also held a meeting with victims of violence of the so-called “Mapuche conflict”, which for decades has confronted indigenous communities with the State and with agricultural and forestry companies that exploit lands considered ancestral, and in the context of which arson attacks on agricultural machinery and farms are frequent, and which has also led to place to homicides.
“We have to keep moving forward. And, for that reason, I want to suggest that dialogue, paz, goodwill, collaboration is irreplaceable and that requires fighting violence with the full force of the law, with all the rigor of the will, “said Piñera.