Mapuche elected President of the Chilean Constitutional Assembly

By Gudrun


"Our solidarity with the suffering of the indigenous peoples of Canada" said the new President of the Constitutional Assembly, Mapuche teacher Elisa Loncón, in her inaugural speech.

Elisa Loncón was addressing the whole country. The Constitutional Assembly will draft a new "Magna Charta" for Chile, the first democratic one with broad participation. When she took the stage, she was accompanied by the Mapuche spiritual leader Machi Francisca Linconao.
What is also new here is that the President speaks out for the solidarity of her people, the Mapuche Indigenous People, with all Indigenous Peoples of the world. She wants to succeed in building a new Chile in which the principles of equality, respect, sustainability, freedom, justice and truth prevail.

Elisa Loncón Antileo, 58, was elected in the May elections to one of the seven Mapuche seats representing the indigenous districts of the regions in Chile: Coquimbo, Valparaíso, Metropolitana, O'Higgins and Maule ,with 11,714 votes. 
She was once discriminated against, like all her people, and called an "Indian". Her grandfather was arrested during the dictatorship, her family persecuted. Elisa Loncón went into resistance against the dictatorship even then.

Machi Francisca Linconao is the indigenous leader of the Mapuche. She is committed to protecting the rights of the Mapuche people and their ancestral territories. In 2008, she filed a protection action in the Chilean Supreme Court to stop illegal logging in sacred areas of the Chilean forest where medicinal plants used by the Mapuche people grow 

(read more on Frontlinedefenders about Machi).

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