Mapuche Nation. Indigenous women: ‘We are thought to be closer to nature than men’ / International Indigenous Women’s Day

Latin America Summary, September 5, 2022

Mapuche social anthropologist and gender specialist Meli Cabrapan Duarte warned there was an “overload” on them and sought to reverse the idea that “women serve and men talk.”

Mapuche social anthropologist and gender specialist Meli Cabrapan Duarte has warned that there is an “overload” on them as they are assumed to be “natural protectors of territories” as they are considered “closer to nature than men”. .

Caprabán Duarte indicated that they seek to reverse the idea that “women are the ones who serve and men are the ones who speak,” in an interview with Télam on the occasion of Indigenous Women’s Day, which is celebrated next Monday.

Mellie’s “tuwvn” (territorial origin) is Gulumapu, a territory located near the Villa Rica volcano, in Chile, “although they say the family was displaced from the sea there” and her paternal grandparents emigrated to Argentina to settle first in Bahía Blanca and then in Bariloche, where she was born under the registered name of “Melissa”, although her mother preferred to call her Meli (“four” in Mapuzungun).

Her process of “rebirth,” as she likes to call the self-recognition of the Mapuche people, began when she studied social anthropology at the University of Rio Negro and in her subsequent doctorate at the University of Buenos Aires, where she specialized in gender studies and feminist anthropology.

He is currently a member of Lof Newen Mapu, 15 kilometers from the center of the city of Neuken, which is organized as the Xawvn Ko Zonal Council of the Mapuche Confederation of Neuken along with 12 other lofs established in what is now called “Vaca Muerta” .

From these high lands on a plateau crossed by “manguerotes” – as they call the hoses that carry water from the rivers to the hydraulic fractures – and where temperatures vary between 40°C and -5°C, their lof seeks to challenge “a sense of desert” of the place because “they always advanced on these lands with the idea that there was nothing here,” Meli said.

-How did the process of building the Argentine nation state and its evolution until today for Mapuche women?

-These are problems that we are all building, especially in the last 7 years in the process of thinking that we are a Mapuche people, but also seeing what is happening to women. We emphasize how historically indispensable we have been for the Mapuche people to sustain themselves. And this support includes the transfer of knowledge. Women have always been central to the preservation and transmission of the language or knowledge of weaving, of many arts.

Was this transmission of knowledge linear in time?

– What the military campaigns produced was not only the confiscation of territories and the pretense of total destruction, there were also people who entered a process of proletarianization or slavery when they had to go to the cities. So there was a break in this transmission of knowledge, but the lamgen (sisters) preserved it. Today, in the process of Mapuche revival, we seek to mobilize them or awaken this knowledge in them.

– How do you see the inclusion of women in decision-making spaces in communities?

– Things have changed over time. There is already participation of women in political roles. Of the 12 communities that make up our zonal council, just under half are women, lonko at the helm. It’s not that women haven’t been in political places before because they’ve been pushed out, but because maybe there hasn’t been time for them to do it. We are currently planning the second meeting of Mapuche women, which will be at Lake Wechulafquen, in Junin de los Andes, and one of the axes is political strengthening.

– Do women give a different view of these spaces?

-Sometimes politics leads to accepting a certain masculinity in this role so that you can assert your voice, be heard and respected. It made us think that we don’t want to reproduce those roles that we criticize, that we’re not mutually exclusive, and try to iron out those rough edges that can exist between women as well. We are very critical when we talk about “leader”. Here we can say that there is representation, there are speakers, but we try to blur those roles that are sometimes personalized because we don’t all feel represented. In this collective construction that we do, we say that people matter, that the common matters, that women matter.

-How is patriarchy expressed in communities?

-There is a need to trace what has caused machismo or violence to become visible today within communities or organizations. We don’t want to romanticize because we don’t have enough tools to say that the Mapuche people were completely egalitarian, and that didn’t happen. Because beyond the fact that these elements of complementarity, of duality, can be found in the worldview, it is not really useful for us to refer to this supposedly ideal past, but rather to review what is happening today.

What has happened recently is that with the uprising of the Mapuche people and their organization since the 1990s, we have recognized the place of women as fundamental. They have always been fundamental in the care that the entire organizational process requires. That is, what is behind all this struggle: the reproduction of everyday life, caregiving, and taking on tasks that are feminized in society at large and also in the Mapuche people. Today we try to turn these questions around, that it is not women who serve, but men who speak.

– What needs to be done regarding the representation of indigenous women?

-Recently we were in Buenos Aires and worked on the recommendations of the Office of the Public Defender for the media. We emphasize the care to resort to the voices of women who are organized or can be that representative voice of the discussions that take place. Sometimes it happens that a woman recognizes herself as Mapuche and this voice represents everyone or analyzes a situation and this background may not be like that. We then reaffirm our collective and organizational character.

Personally, I think that sometimes indigenous women are overworked, as if we are closer to nature than men, as if we are natural protectors of territories. This does not mean that we are not busy in the first place: it is the care and ability to provide all this daily life that is directly related to the land. But it affects us as a people, and men and other identities are also involved in this battle. (Tell me)

SOURCE: The South End


Mapuche Confederation of Neuquen

Faciantv May, September 05, together with the pu lamgen, sisters, from the various primary peoples of Abya Yala, we commemorate the life and resistance of Bartolina Sisa, who together with other women and men, such as the Aymara people, rose up against the atrocities of colonialism, which spread to all our territories.

It can be an image of 14 people, people standing and outdoors

To Wajmapu and Puelmapu (territory to the east) the bloody progress of the Argentine state would arrive later, which became the still recent grief of our people for their extermination attempt and the actualization of this long-lasting colonialism.

This day also makes us honor our grandmothers, great-grandmothers, mothers, aunts, spiritual authorities, logco and pu kona who have resisted the bullfighting of our families, the silencing of their Mapuche identity, who have suffered many forms of abuse, enslaved and subjected to slavery; whose voice was silenced through so much violence that genocide intensified on our territories and bodies.

We justify ourselves in all of them, in their strength to care despite so much evil, to protect life above all, even having to put up with the Mapuzugun in secret and so much knowledge that resurfaced a few decades ago, such as the arrival of this new spring.

All its power is in the long memory of the Mapuche people and the local resistance that keeps us alive and that mobilizes us to be collectively organized:

-Protection of community territories from the capitalist and landowning interests that governments support.

-Fight against the progress of extractivism, which deprives us of the basic rights to live and to be able to design Kvme Felen.

-Organized in pu zomo circles of our Kiñel Mapu and of the Mapuche Confederation of Neuquén.

– Speaking of machismo and its practices that harm us, and restoring ancient and nephelian forms of justice to restore balance.

– Engaged in revitalizing, transmitting and sharing various knowledge and values ​​that Mapuce Kimvn contains, fundamental to our existence and livelihood as humans.

– We are looking for new ways to express ourselves, tell each other and build with pu wenxu, also responsible for reversing the patriarchy.

Newentulepe tayiñ kalvl, newentulepe tayiñ lofce, newentulepe tayiñ rakizuam, newentulepe tayiñ zugu pu zomo fijke lamgen kom Wajmapu ka Abya Yala mew!

May our bodies, territories, thoughts and voices be strengthened, different sisters from all corners of Wajmapu and Abiya Yala.

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