miércoles, 10 de noviembre de 2010

A 21st Century Mapuche Kingdom

The Mapuche are the indigenous people who have sustainably inhabited the southern cone of South America for thousands of years prior to the arrival of the first European traders and colonists. Following a long fought territorial battle with the Invading Spanish Crown the new official border to Mapuche National territory was finally agreed in the treaty of killen in 1641, as the Bio Bio river to the north and to the southern tip of what is today known as Chile and Argentina.

However Following the independence of the Chilean and Argentinean States in 1810, in 1860 the newly formed republics led a renewed military assault against the Mapuche Nation incorporating a policy of assimilation and genocide, breaching this and a number of formerly signed treaties in order to gain control over their land and the valuable resources therein. During the course of its turbulent struggle to maintain self determination the Mapuche Nation adopted a radical and unique solution to this problem as a result of an unlikely alliance with a visionary Frenchman Oriele Antoine.

None could have imagined the struggles faced by the 20th century Mapuche and the complex political, social and economic problems that he faced, however the Mapuche of the period had had the foresight to develop a far superior and powerful tool with which to save their nation and the generations that were to follow.

From the Mapuche battlefields of Araucania and Patagonia where Kona, Weichafe (Soldiers) lonkos (Chiefs) and toki (head war chief) had courageously fought to protect and retain the soil and spirit of their beloved Nation against newly developed weaponry in a climate of ethnic prejudice teetering upon the brink of genocide. The 18th century Mapuche defeated an enemy with the might of his limbs, his skills as a horseman, his wit, determination and pride against an intruding foe and whilst for over 300 hundred years these qualities had sufficed to protect his nation; after the development of sophisticated and powerful weaponry following the industrialisation of the West the Mapuche had seemingly lost his defence.

Using these weapons the West proceeded to subjugate and annihilate a myriad of indigenous nations across the globe in the name of the expansion of the capitalist ethos. The prizes it valued so highly, the rich tapestry of resources located in the land upon which the indigenous people including the Mapuche lived. For the Mapuche who had for thousands of year’s sustained coexistence on this land, these treasures were not valued in monetary terms but were inherently spiritual in nature and provided sustenance and protection for the mind, body and soul. Whilst for the European states, they represented additional fuel to feed the ever hungry furnace which supported capitalism and State expansion.

If they could not attain these by means of subjugation then they would seek to destroy the guardians of nature’s riches using a strategy of genocide and assimilation. By displacing the Mapuche to Barren lands and cities devoid of spirituality and sustenance they imposed poverty and a cultural death sentence upon those who survived.

Thus, the highest Mapuche chiefs convened war meetings to discuss the emerging crisis and to promulgate solutions to resolve it in some way. Perhaps as a result of synchronisity at this crucial juncture in Mapuche history the Mapuche chiefs befriended a sympathetic French lawyer named Orielle Antoine who proposed the implementation of a political entity that may hold the key to the long term protection and survival of the Mapuche Nation. This was the ratification and adoption of the Kingdom of Araucania and Patagonia as it exists today.

Whilst events beyond the control of the Mapuche at this time unfolded, the Mapuche Chiefs became convinced that the adoption of the Kingdom would provide a crucial defence which would serve to protect their people and territory from total annihilation and domination from any state who attempted to claim it for their own. By constructing a legitimate sovereign state which could be easily interpretted modern global states and which by its very nature was positioned in such a way that it fitted the framework and legislation of the international community, the Mapuche had a constructed a vehicle with which to manoeuvre, which equally provided political weight and leverage within the structure of a new world order.

After lengthy religious ceremonial activities, deliberations and spiritual consultations the Kingdom was ratified. Oriole Antoinne was officially democratically elected by the Chiefs of the Mapuche Nation in a unanimous vote as sovereign, and the Mapuche chiefs themselves were elected as his council thus ensuring that the Mapuche maintained autonomy over the affairs of the kingdom. A large celebration was then conducted over a number of days in honour of the adoption of the Kingdom by the Mapuche Nation. A unique constitution was devised and coins were produced . Thus the genesis of the Kingdom was complete.

King Oreolle Anntoine however was systematically pursued by the Chilean state who perceived the kingdom and its elected leader as a threat to their future plans to subjugate and control the Mapuche people. King Oreolle was later kidnapped by the State and brought to trial for his alliance where the State branded him a lunatic and committed him to a mental institution in the hope that he would be forgotten. He later escaped and returned to France to recuperate before returning to his beloved Mapuche brothers to continue the resistance.

As a means of strategic defence the creation and adoption of the Kingdom of Araucania and Patagonia by the highest Lonkos (chiefs) of the Mapuche Nation in 1860 represents a mode of thinking which suggests a deep insight, the intuitive nature and significance of which reflects the tenacity and ingenuity of the Mapuche people at that time. Indeed one could say, that when viewed from today’s perspective such a notion of ingenuity, could almost only have been conceived and appreciated in modern retrospect.

The Kingdom has since survived alongside the Mapuche Nation, the ravages of imperialist assault which continue to the present day under the administration of the Chilean and Argentinean states. King Orelie’s throne was occupied by successive generations of his family who kept alive the Kingdom and the values inherent at its inception.

In 2010, the 150th anniversary of the Kingdom, the present head of the Royal household, HRH Prince Philippe of Araucania and Patagonia currently lives in exile in France. However he continues to maintain strong links with the Mapuche Nation. The modern Kingdom has a Royal council made up, in line with tradition of both Mapuche and European councillors who advise the King on affairs of state. His Royal Highness annual address is warmly received by the Mapuche people and he remains in the tradition of his forebearers a loyal ally to the Mapuche Nation.

During the reign of Prince Phillip and due in most part to HRH lifelong dedication to tradition, much has been done to justify the Kingdom to its rightful place in the world. In 1971 Prince Phillipe sought to reaffirm the legitimacy of his sovereignty by taking his case to the French law courts in order to officially vindicate the existence of the Kingdom and his role as head of state, the French courts subsequently ruled in favour of the legitimacy of the Kingdom. Prince Philip has also presented the Mapuche human and land rights situation to the United Nations in Geneva, Switzerland.

gentileza: nena dean