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A pathbreaking contribution to Latin American testimonial literature, When a Flower Is Reborn is activist Rosa Isolde Reuque Paillalef’s chronicle of her leadership within the Mapuche indigenous rights movement in Chile. Part personal reflection and part political autobiography, it is also the story of Reuque’s rediscovery of her own Mapuche identity through her political and human rights activism over the past quarter century. The questions posed to Reuque by her editor and translator, the distinguished historian Florencia Mallon, are included in the text, revealing both a lively exchange between two feminist intellectuals and much about the crafting of the testimonial itself. In addition, several conversations involving Reuque’s family members provide a counterpoint to her story, illustrating the variety of ways identity is created and understood. A leading activist during the Pinochet dictatorship, Reuque—a woman, a Catholic, and a Christian Democrat—often felt like an outsider within the male-dominated, leftist Mapuche movement. This sense of herself as both participant and observer allows for Reuque’s trenchant, yet empathetic, critique of the Mapuche ethnic movement and of the policies regarding indigenous people implemented by Chile’s post-authoritarian government. After the 1990 transition to democratic rule, Reuque collaborated with the government in the creation of the Indigenous Development Corporation (CONADI) and the passage of the Indigenous Law of 1993. At the same time, her deepening critiques of sexism in Chilean society in general, and the Mapuche movement in particular, inspired her to found the first Mapuche feminist organization and participate in the 1996 International Women’s Conference in Beijing. Critical of the democratic government’s inability to effectively address indigenous demands, Reuque reflects on the history of Mapuche activism, including its disarray in the early 1990s and resurgence toward the end of the decade, and relates her hopes for the future. An important reinvention of the testimonial genre for Latin America’s post-authoritarian, post-revolutionary era, When a Flower Is Reborn will appeal to those interested in Latin America, race and ethnicity, indigenous people’s movements, women and gender, and oral history and ethnography.
This is the first book in English to examine the contemporary Mapuche: their culture, their struggle for autonomy within the modern-day nation state, their religion, language, and distinct identity. Leslie Ray looks back over the history of relations between the Mapuche and the Argentine and Chilean states, and examines issues of ethnicity, biodiversity, and bio-piracy in Mapuche lands today, their struggle for rights over natural resources, and the impact of tourism and neoliberalism. The Mapuche of what is today southern Chile and Argentina were the first and only indigenous peoples on the continent to have their sovereignty legally recognized by the Spanish empire, and their reputation for ferocity and bravery was legendary among the Spanish invaders. Their sense of communal identity and personal courage has forged among the Mapuche a strong instinct for self-preservation over the centuries. Today their struggle continues: neither Chile nor Argentina specifically recognize the rights of indigenous peoples. In recent years disputes over land rights, particularly in Chile, have provoked fierce protests from the Mapuche. In both countries, policies of assimilation have had a disastrous effect on the Mapuche language and cultural integrity. Even so, in recent years the Mapuche have managed a remarkable cultural and political resurgence, in part through a tenacious defense of their ancestral lands and natural resources against marauding multinationals, which has catapulted them to regional and international attention. Leslie Ray has been a freelance translator since the mid 1980s. He has translated a number of books from Italian and Spanish in the fields of architecture, design, and art history. A regular visitor to Argentina since the late eighties, he has worked actively with Mapuche organizations there since the late 1990s. In addition to his work on the Mapuche, he has also published articles on Argentine social, indigenous, and language-related issues for publications as diverse as History Today and The Linguist.
As a "wild," drumming thunder shaman, a warrior mounted on her spirit horse, Francisca Kolipi's spirit traveled to other historical times and places, gaining the power and knowledge to conduct spiritual warfare against her community's enemies, including forestry companies and settlers. As a "civilized" shaman, Francisca narrated the Mapuche people's attachment to their local sacred landscapes, which are themselves imbued with shamanic power, and constructed nonlinear histories of intra- and interethnic relations that created a moral order in which Mapuche become history's spiritual victors. Thunder Shaman represents an extraordinary collaboration between Francisca Kolipi and anthropologist Ana Mariella Bacigalupo, who became Kolipi's "granddaughter," trusted helper, and agent in a mission of historical (re)construction and myth-making. The book describes Francisca's life, death, and expected rebirth, and shows how she remade history through multitemporal dreams, visions, and spirit possession, drawing on ancestral beings and forest spirits as historical agents to obliterate state ideologies and the colonialist usurpation of indigenous lands. Both an academic text and a powerful ritual object intended to be an agent in shamanic history, Thunder Shaman functions simultaneously as a shamanic "bible," embodying Francisca's power, will, and spirit long after her death in 1996, and an insightful study of shamanic historical consciousness, in which biography, spirituality, politics, ecology, and the past, present, and future are inextricably linked. It demonstrates how shamans are constituted by historical-political and ecological events, while they also actively create history itself through shamanic imaginaries and narrative forms.
This book analyzes the literary representation of Indigenous women in Latin American letters from colonization to the twentieth century, arguing that contemporary theorization of Indigenous feminism deconstructs denigratory imagery and offers a (re)signification, (re)semantization and reinvigoration of what it means to be an Indigenous woman.
Until now, very little about the recent history of the Mapuche, Chile’s largest indigenous group, has been available to English-language readers. Courage Tastes of Blood helps to rectify this situation. It tells the story of one Mapuche community—Nicolás Ailío, located in the south of the country—across the entire twentieth century, from its founding in the resettlement process that followed the military defeat of the Mapuche by the Chilean state at the end of the nineteenth century. Florencia E. Mallon places oral histories gathered from community members over an extended period of time in the 1990s in dialogue with one another and with her research in national and regional archives. Taking seriously the often quite divergent subjectivities and political visions of the community’s members, Mallon presents an innovative historical narrative, one that reflects a mutual collaboration between herself and the residents of Nicolás Ailío. Mallon recounts the land usurpation Nicolás Ailío endured in the first decades of the twentieth century and the community’s ongoing struggle for restitution. Facing extreme poverty and inspired by the agrarian mobilizations of the 1960s, some community members participated in the agrarian reform under the government of socialist president Salvador Allende. With the military coup of 1973, they suffered repression and desperate impoverishment. Out of this turbulent period the Mapuche revitalization movement was born. What began as an effort to protest the privatization of community lands under the military dictatorship evolved into a broad movement for cultural and political recognition that continues to the present day. By providing the historical and local context for the emergence of the Mapuche revitalization movement, Courage Tastes of Blood offers a distinctive perspective on the evolution of Chilean democracy and its rupture with the military coup of 1973.
An interdisciplinary collection that addresses the racial and ethnic politics of knowledge production and indigenous activism in the Americas, this book analyzes the relationship of language to power and advocates for collaboration between community members, scholars, and activists that prioritize the right of Native people to decide how their knowledge is used.
"A watershed analysis—the new political history of Latin America begins here."—John Tutino, Georgetown University "Florencia Mallon's analysis of peasant politics and state formation in Latin America compels us to rethink the relationship between the 'national' and the 'popular.' In particular, she questions the concept of 'community' in a way that scholars of subaltern histories elsewhere will find enormously helpful."—Dipesh Chakrabarty, Director of the Ashworth Centre for Social Theory, University of Melbourne, Australia

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