Mapuche resistance in Chile intensifies in response to police killing – Struggle – La Lucha – In the late 1800s, Chile began an expansion that continues to this day, sending in the army to clear the way for white settlers and pushing the Mapuche off much of their land in Araucanía. After Chile’s “pacification” campaign ended, the Mapuche were placed on “reducciones” (reservations) similar to what Indigenous people endured in Canada and the U.S. Wallmapu was split by the Chilean and Argentinian borders, dividing the Mapuche into virtual captive nations within two colonizing countries.
Over the last century, the Mapuche have lost a large portion of their ancestral territory. Conditions improved somewhat for them during the brief presidency of Salvador Allende and other presidents who engaged in some land reform efforts. But largely, the inherent rights of the Mapuche to their homelands — different in nature from the rights of campesino farmers — were not fully understood by governments or non-Indigenous social movements.
Under the Pinochet dictatorship of 1973-1990, the Mapuche land base was reduced from 10 million hectares (25 million acres) to under 400,000 hectares (a million acres), according to some estimates. Pinochet targeted Mapuche resisters and labeled them as terrorists for refusing to give up. The military dictatorship pursued policies that divided Indigenous communities, took control of lands for which the Mapuche did not have formal property titles, and encouraged the sale of the lands to large-scale farmers, lumber and energy companies, and other private owners.