Graduation Year


Document Type

Open Access Senior Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts


Politics and International Relations

Reader 1

Nancy Neiman Auerbach

Reader 2

Cindy Forster

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Rights Information

© 2016 Reyna McKinnon


When President Sebastián Piñera entered office in 2010 the Mapuche indigenous people were receiving two contrasting messages from the Chilean State. On the one hand, the government ratified ILO Convention 169, pledging to protect the indigenous right to prior consultation in programs that affect their communities. On the other hand, the government was involved in the oppression of Mapuche communities in the region of the Araucanía through militarisation and the application of the Anti-Terrorist Law to punish radical Mapuche activists that protest corporate encroachment on their land. While Piñera had the opportunity to legitimize the Mapuche demand for self-determination by implementing ILO Convention 169 according to international standards and putting an end to the “Mapuche Conflict,” instead the situation of the Mapuche political movement worsened under his leadership. The Piñera administration used indigenous rights policy and a discourse of terrorism as a strategy to delegitimize the Mapuche demand for self-determination in order to protect corporate profitability, a key factor in the Chilean neoliberal economic project.