Award Information

International Dissertation Research Fellowship 2021
Institutional Affiliation (at time of award):
University of Texas / Austin
Water and Land as Mapuche Gen: The Environmental, Social and Cultural Effects of the Forestry Industry in Lof Mañiuko, Chile

In this project, I will explore the relationship between the forestry industry in Chile and its effects on the lifeways of Lof Mañiuko, a Mapuche community located in the Galvarino Municiplaity, Province of Cautin, southern Chile. The massive and invasive pinus radiata and eucalyptus plantations of three forestry companies (Hancock Forestal Agrícola, Bosques Cautín S.A. and Empresas Frindt) currently surround the Lof Mañiuko, with detrimental environmental, social and cultural effects upon the Mapuche lifeways of the community. In my study, particular attention will be paid to the legal framework that the settler Chilean state has instituted across years, such as the 1974 Decree No. 701, which promoted, subsidized, and created tax incentives for the private forestry bussiness during the dictatorship's years in Chile (1973-1990). With this community and legal context in mind, I will examine how the activity of the aforementioned three forestry companies environmentally affects Lof Mañiuko, especially in regard to the issue of water resources and land ownership, as well as its social and cultural, material and symbolic practices. In this research, I will take into account the particular context of settler Chilean state’s neoliberal policies and the more global resonances of the conflict between Lof Mañiuko and the extractive forestry industry, as a case that illustrates critical issues regarding water resources, environmental conflicts and indigenous land rights issues in times of climate change and the global crisis created by extractive ccapitalism and long-term colonial legacies. As an engaged Mapuche researcher, I will approach these tensions through the conceptual lens of Mapuche Gen, that is, a Mapuche principle of physical and spiritual life that demands from us to cultivate good, non-destructive relations with the land and the world we inhabit.