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As I listen to the declarations made by Mapuche children, I could not stop thinking about the comments made by one of my girlfriends.  ‘There are no political issues in Chile now, all of that stupid stuff was left in the past’.

Chile is a strange place; it has beautiful landscapes and amazing mountains, all so enchanting.  The people; good and bad as in any other place but Chilean people I thought as a naive child, were all so kind and giving.

This morning I was watching a video on YouTube, entitled Infancia Mapuche “Una cruel realidad”’ – Mapuche Infancy, a cruel reality.


A little girl asked her brother Manki to play with her.  She looked about 7 years old and the brother about the same age.


There is nothing out of the ordinary that a little girl would ask her brother to play, however I continued to listen to the video and to my disbelief the little girl asked her brother to play ‘el paco y el Mapuche’ – the cop and the Mapuche.

The brother agreed and they started to run in the beautiful golden grass.  As the girl ran the brother followed.  The next frame in the video left me in shock.  The boy pointed his fingers towards his sister’s back and proceeded to make a sound with his lips; ‘pssh, pssh’ as they both ran and enjoyed them selves with laughter.  He was shooting at his sister, while she ran in front of him calling out ‘andate paco’ – go away cop.


The beautiful green landscape with its mountains as the backdrop to a dramatic re-enactment of the cruel and disheartening reality lived by these children.

As a child I played with my dolls, in the suburbs of Santiago in Chile.  These children play ‘the cop and the Mapuche’ under the golden sun of a beautiful afternoon.  Has my country of origin changed that much?  Why have these children opted to play such a game?

I left Chile when I was 12 years old.  I had heard about the Mapuche but it was never a topic taught at school.  The history I knew started when the Spanish conquistadors arrived in what is now known as Chile.  I never questioned this history.  What was there before?  I began to ask this questions as I learnt about the Aborigines in Australia.

I am now learning about the Mapuche customs, their culture, their way of life and their struggles but when I came across this video I could not believe what these Mapuche children have to live with on a daily basis.

I do not know if the country has changed but I do know that I have changed.  I have grown up and opened my eyes to the real Chile.  A country with blood running from the Andes mountains all the way to the Pacific ocean, from the north of Arica to the south of Punta Arenas.  And in between these places, there are people trying to survive, like the Mapuche.

My friend is not interested in issues such as this, for her the ‘political stuff’ ended when Chile became a democracy again, back in the nineties.

These Mapuche children are traumatised and scared by what they are watching and experiencing at their doorsteps.  I wish I could do more.


Video:  Infancia Mapuche “Una cruel realidad”


Accessed Friday July 27, 2012

Uploaded by ‪WallmapuVision on Aug 12, 2011

Imagenes recopiladas de un reportaje de CANAL 13 – Contacto 2010. Muestra la cruda niñez con la que crecen los niños mapuche a causa de fuerte represion policial en las comunidades mapuche.

Produce: El diario Wallmapu

Images: snapshots taken from Infancia Mapuche “Una cruel realidad”