Mapuche Aboriginal exchange program

Mapuche-Aboriginal Struggles for Indigenous Land (MASIL) - Project Description


Short description of the exchange:

The project aims to initiate and drive a cultural and historic exchange between Mapuche Indigenous communities in Chile/Argentina and Aboriginal peoples in Australia, in order to develop a holistic interchange and provide a complete picture of daily life experience in Aboriginal/Mapuche culture including: history, culture, language, relationship with the land, education, ecology, religion, relationships with civil society and social movements. This work will examine the challenges faced by Indigenous communities trying to maintain and develop Aboriginal/Mapuche culture in both countries.

Today our interest is to establish a face to face exchange between Indigenous communities fighting for their rights and lands.


The motivation and purpose of the exchange:

In both countries, Indigenous communities and the poorer social sectors are the most affected by the plunder of natural resources by mining, forestry, agrobusiness and hydroelectric companies. We would like to continue assisting these communities in Chile/Argentina, providing information and support.

In this project, our aspirations are to build bridges of dialogue and communication between Indigenous peoples in Australia and Chile/Argentina in this case between Mapuche people and Aboriginal people. To establish face to face contact with those we have been supporting all these years and to document all the work that is carried out. Also, through the mutual sharing of experiences, and witnessing of strategies for defending land and fighting for autonomy, we hope both communities will be strengthened to go forward with new campaigns for land and culture preservation.

Part of the exchange will involve the production of a documentary of approximately 50-60 minutes duration. This documentary will concentrate on the themes of our project, including:


  • Urban and rural Mapuche/Aboriginal life

  • Indigenous communities’ situation regarding invasion of transnational companies and how this relates to the broader Indigenous situation in each country.

  • Ancestral knowledge-religion

  • Challenges in the survival process

  • Culture and assimilation

  • Racism and resistance

  • Relationship between land and indigenous communities


The expected results from the exchange:

The expected results of the exchange are two-fold:

  1. To build bridges of dialogue and communication between Indigenous peoples in Australia and Chile/Argentina, through establishing face to face contact and building relationships.

  1. To document all the work that is carried out and to produce a documentary of approximately 50-60 minutes duration.


Exchange information cont.

This encounter will be in the city of Wallmapu (Temuco), 600kms south of Santiago the capital city of Chile. Wallmapu is the 9th region where the majority of the Mapuche communities are found; this region has approximately one million Mapuche. The time required to complete this project is estimated at approximately 12 to16 weeks, (broken down into 8 weeks filming, 3 weeks producing and 4 weeks for workshops and meetings). The planned time period to do this project is during the new season and Indigenous New year between June - August or between October - December 2016. During these seasons is also when the weather would be most appropriate as it is during these times that it is possible to reach all the areas in which Indigenous communities live and it is also the optimum weather conditions for filming.

The Aboriginal people from Australia will visit the cities in the south of Chile/Argentina presenting workshops and public meetings explaining their struggle in Australia and the impact that the colonial government and transnational companies are having on their lands and lives. They will also meet various community, environmental and student groups, academics and other interested individuals and groups to discuss the issues relevant for Aboriginal people in Australia. Participants in the exchange will also visit some Mapuche communities in the south of Chile that are in the process of re-vegetating with indigenous plants, land that has been recuperated and that has been deforested and experienced desertification.

Back in Australia we will initiate the Second Phase of the project which will involve 3-4 weeks of filming areas where Aboriginal communities are living and conducting interviews with Aboriginal community members across the continent.


Funding required for the project:

The collective will fundraise to pay for the full costs of the exchange which come to a total of $50,000. This will include international and domestic airfare tickets for the people travelling. Furthermore the project coordinator has already initiated and established contact with the communities to be visited and confirmed both venues and expenses for accommodation and food for the 3-4 months residency in Latin America. Once in Australia, solidarity groups and Indigenous communities will host Mapuche guests with the commitment from the collective to be reimbursed for expenses incurred in hosting. The collective will raise funds for and organise transport, food and logistics for the period of time Mapuche guests will be travelling around Australia.


Groups and individuals involved in the exchange:

Marisol Salinas, Marian Hart, Anita Thomasson, Anna MacIldowie, Anne-Lise Ah Fat, Latin American Solidarity Network, Friends of the Earth Melbourne, Warriors of the Aboriginal Resistance and 3CR Community Radio 855AM.


What the supporters would receive in return for their assistance:

Our commitment to the supporters of this project will be expressed through the acknowledgment of their participation, recognition of supporters within all the material produced including the documentary credits, and exchange participants would be available in an on-going capacity to provide information on their experiences and work carried out during the exchange, thanks to the assistance of our supporters.


Project Contact:

Marisol Salinas

MASIL Project Co-ordinator

Friends of the Earth Melbourne

[email protected]