European settlers in Chile | DW Documentary

published on July 2, 2020


Eero Konya boasts some of the most

stunning natural beauty in Chile the

region has been called the Chilean

Switzerland not just for the mountains

but also because of the 22,000 Swiss

immigrants who arrived here in the late

19th century

February is harvest season in Chile a

vote look Singh and his brother Harold

run Santa Rosa a farm covering some 60

hectares of land the two men are proud

of their property and of what their

forefathers built up but the land they

call home is also being claimed by their

neighbors members of them up with you

some of the indigenous people work on

the look singers fields as farmhands

during the harvest they're paid by

quantity and not very much other Mapuche

insist the land belongs to them and not

the men of Swiss descent we've always

had good relations with our neighbors

our family have been living in this

region since 1908 more than a hundred

years that we built up a sound

relationship good TV at home and that's

how I've known it since I was a boy and

that's why it's so difficult for us to

understand how it could come to this yes

we are 215 we sought us of dimke



working on the farm has become dangerous

since 2009 Santa Rosa has been subjected

to repeated attacks

sighs Brenda sighs distill my sometimes

it's a fire sometimes they put bits of

iron in the fields direct the machines

the sabotage has caused huge economic

damage to the family who now fear for

their livelihoods the look singers used

to have two hundred and twenty dairy

cows today the cow heads are empty the

brothers had to sell all their cattle

after an arson attack in 2015 that left

the dairy in ruins if you have a

business and it's destroyed and you have

nothing left all you've ever bank debts

you have to start all over again and say

what am I going to do now my parents are

still alive and my father refuses to

sell so that's how things are going to

stay a theme sort of lightning but the

look singers are very much on a back


their parents have already moved away

from the farm out of fear of further

attacks neither able nor Herold feel

it's safe to move in

a vultures us damage from the most

recent attack in they fired shots in

this direction Gasol the assailants also

had canisters of gasoline with them with

the intention of burning the house to

the ground



the vas comes from the regional capital




once a week the trial family go shopping

in the city for items they are unable to

produce back home on the farm the

trucker's are among them our butcher

families fighting to have the land

returned to them as the oldest son Kwan

bears responsibility for the family he's

26 and as a geology student the dispute

between the trial councilman look

singers has been going on for almost 20


first it was over water rights and then

land one studies limit the amount of

time he has to work on the farm his

family is extremely poor and the 10

hectares of land yield too little to

really survive on they make him sell

their own handicrafts to earn a little

extra money the fight over the land is a

fight for their future and one conducted

with a little mercy colonias Torino

Cobra Sara Erin Padre this land belongs

to our ancestors so really it's ours by

right but I am against threatening our

families and resorting to violence but

the phone it on clothes to get a lady's

a lot of my boots I disapprove of that

see other con but destroying the

machinery that is wrecking our land this

is a reaction to state violence a second

era when I meant the potato village okay

in a volatile


our own Kunia is the breadbasket of

Chile thanks also to the settlers in the

19th century they were invited to come

by the government Germans Italians

French and 22,000 Swiss who turned wild

pastures into arable land the look

singers were among the first settlers to

arrive today the family owned a number

of farms and enjoy considerable wealth

our family gatherings in particular it's

clear that the former immigrants have

grown into a closely knit clan the

younger generation tend to converse in

Spanish while their older relatives

speak reasonable German although they

have lost the Swiss dialect except for

the odd word or phrase but they still

feel an affiliation to the old country

during the gathering they share old

family photos documenting their

ancestors arrival in the new world


this was the family's very first house

here which they built themselves the

Aconcagua the ship that brought the

first look singers to Chile on a

month-long voyage the contract with the

Chilean government granting 40 hectares

of land to each cetera and the founding

patriarch sebastian looks ago he left

switzerland with his family a few years

earlier to escape poverty the family

originally came from ng in the canton of

Glarus and soon had a thriving

enterprise in Chile they bought

additional land and a second generation

then moved to the area around him this

is the first plot my grandfather bought


Adam look singer and the look singer

brothers then bought up more land 1300

hectares the wives would complain that

all the money was spent on new land

instead of the house as the look singers

and many other set of families became

wealthier the Mapuche became poorer now

they are demanding the return of the

land that was taken from them land that

the settlers have been farming for the

last 140 years are they proud of their

history of course we didn't get anything

for free

if anyone's responsible for what's

happening now it's the state it was the

state that colonized the area the

Mapuche were resettled to smaller plots

of land while the rest was auctioned off


but now the look singers find themselves

at the heart of the conflict for haka

and dirt a conflict that turned deadly

in 2013 his parents were the victims of

an attack in a very house where the

family has gathered today the emergency

call was recorded by police arrived at

the house a little later on the way

there I could already see that it was on

fire it had started in the kitchen I

think I only just missed the attackers

in pocono me no no can think on trauma

college and I went looking for my mom

she called me a few minutes earlier we

spent a whole night searching for the

next morning we found out that two

bodies had been discovered in the house

it had already burned to the ground

contrary to what we had hoped they

turned out to be the remains of my



Jorge andreas and his brothers have

since rebuilt the house but nobody lives

there now the family use it to host

gatherings it's also a signal to the

perpetrators within beneath when you can

come and burn everything down you can

kill us but you will never achieve your

goal they will act the authorities

arrested three Micucci

in connection with the attack one of

them was Jose Drakkar the father of want

Rocco in the initial trial he was

acquitted but after the government

launched an appeal he was sentenced to

18 years in jail Jose fled before he

could be imprisoned as a son seeit their

father is the victim of political

machinations you know minty silicon oil

sanaka nine people were indicted all of

them people who are potential leaders

for others they have the knowledge and

ability to make successful land claims

against the state authority over the

land in question is controlled by the

settlers and the look singers are a

prominent example that's why they wanted

these people in jail the people they

blamed for the murder of the couple were

the people fighting for the rights of

the mapuche their father Jose was indeed

one of the leading figures in the land

dispute for decades he'd been at odds

with Jorge look singer what's also true

is that the evidence presented by the

police and the first trial was rejected

on the grounds of suspected manipulation

in the eyes of Jose's children the trial

amounted to a conspiracy against their





for the Mapuche in general closet Rakhal

is seen as a martyr in the fight for

their people's rights


josé's defense lawyer has come to see

the family as always on foot defending

them appacha is hardly a lucrative

assignment following the verdict by the

country's highest court there's little

Pablo Ortega can do for the chalk house

his only recourse is to appeal to the

inter-american Court for Human Rights

where he sees far better prospects for

his client the authorities he tells us

used what was called anti-terrorism

legislation introduced by the Pinochet

dictatorship the laws imposed severe

restrictions on legal defense and Ortega

says they constitute a clear violation

of international norms effectively

morally and ethically the anti-terrorism

legislation was used by Pinochet to

arrest protesters campaigning for social

rights and now this very same law is

being applied in the conflict with the

Mapuche I said locked in Syria they're

using the same law and the same criteria

introduced by Pinochet to take action

against them a butcher community but

that's not all says the lawyer he

accuses the authorities of ensuring a

politically influenced verdict

determined by pressure from the so

called settlers

and a lot ofin DITA Yasu Nieto's tan the

descendants of the big landowners are

represented at all levels of society in

the courts the police and the

administration they only see things from

their viewpoint the Mapuche have no

chance against them the odds don't seem

to be in their favor

Pablo Ortega sees it as a fight against

a judicial system that favors the rights

of the ruling class he certainly Yin is

in a similar situation

her husband Lewis striker was also

sentenced to 18 years in jail and has

now likewise a fugitive her family is

among those who have challenged Jorge

look singer for nine years they fought a

conflict with him over land now Lisa is

living on a piece of land that used to

be look singers but Lee said once more

yeah um tomorrow chicken ot Madeira and

there are still a lot of my pooch a

families you have no land our people

struggle is not over and that is why the

truck Elms were found guilty it's purely

political especially in the case of

Lewis because he tried to claim back the

land of another look singer it's about

us as a community we have the right to a

life in dignity the settlers should go

back to their own countries they're not

from here but we are

Lissette is not seeking personal gain

what she wants is to undo a historical

injustice she's proud of her Mapuche

identity she dresses in traditional

attire and roast sweet according to old


he said there's her own share of

suffering such as raising her children

without their father for her violence is

a legitimate means to resolve the

conflict if you want to drive the

settlers away you have to hit him where

it hurts and that's economic power

that's why people started burning down

the crops and killing their cattle but

don't forget that the violence began

with the state against the Mapuche a

people it was the state that brought the

centers here the state started the war

with the pacification of arrow Konya and

forcing us to live in small areas

pacification as the euphemistic term

used to describe that chapter in history

for the Mapuche it meant occupation and

subjugation the chilean state seized 90%

of the semi nomads territory and

confined them to reservations the loss

of land also meant losing their way of

life the Mapuche were unable to cope

with their changed circumstances the

land given to them by the state was of

poor quality and in contrast to the

settlers they received no support

our once prosperous people the Mapuche a

sank into poverty yes it will mob

whatever what do the Mapuche people do

in this situation they turned to self

defense and that strategy of self

defense includes political violence as

we call it litical violence centers on

boycotts by boycotts we mean actions

directed against the settlers economic

power against industrial forestry and

mining against all enterprises that

exploit our resources in centuries past

the Mapuche successfully defended

themselves against the Incas and the

Spanish conquistadors a set sees herself

in that same tradition


Jorge andreas look singer has this farm

a few kilometers away

he's been planting young vines which is

why he's drilling for water a precious

resource for his house and for the


his farmers also guarded by police

day and night he's been living with a

threat from the Mapuche for decades and

is familiar with their demands for more

land that's in the board ISA the poverty

among the Mapuche here in the

countryside is clear to see you have to

put yourself in their shoes but I cannot

accept resorting to violence when they

burn down farms our entire harvests and

when they murder people in doing so they

avenge injustice with injustice he cites

the lay in Lahaina as a major reason for

the violence it's a law regulating the

return of land to the Mapuche and the

state's attempt at compensation for a

historical debt but some say the law is

ill-conceived Bambino company law

encourages violence

it supports land purchases precisely

when there is a conflict conflicts have

been consciously stirred up in recent

years the piranhas and Creole conflict

it enables the process of land

restitution to be accelerated and at the

same time those who behave lawfully no



here another field has been raised by


by February when the summer comes to a

close in a southern hemisphere the local

landscape is parched fires occur

regularly at this time of year one act

of carelessness is enough to trigger

spontaneous combustion arson is another


the wheat fields of Hector urban have

fallen prey to fire on repeated

occasions in this case the flames spread

at an alarming pace the farmers family

were able to stop the inferno just short

of their homes Evod look singer heard

reports of the attack and has come to

see the damage suffered by his fellow

farmer and friend this is the yield from

an entire year bread as if we didn't

need this that's all that's left of the

harvest the ovens have had eight arson

attacks this year alone losing a total

of 46 hectares of wheat under the

circumstances it's difficult to

understand whether family don't just

give up you know

we have no other choice it's that or

nothing we have nowhere else to go

this land is all we have and to move

somewhere else we'd have to sell it but

nobody would buy it as one of the

families caught up in this conflict we

feel betrayed by the Chilean state the

state looked abroad to Switzerland

Germany France and Italy to recruit

people to work here and make the nation

great souvenir akka agrovoc Araceli

grande tonnison

Tomiko the region's capital and

financial center

the Central Market features many Mapuche

from the region who come here to sell

their products it's also where the

various communities come together German

settlers Swiss settlers and indigenous

Mapuche if there's one thing they agree

on its that the state has misled its

people and ultimately is to blame for

the conflict it's never made a serious

effort to harmonize relations between

the different groups instead it has

played them off against each other only

to now leave them alone in their



the look singers are far from the only

victims of the violence the attacks are

now directed against various

institutions of society

Ava takes us to multi-grammy on the

local business association multi-grammy

all wants to see peace for the region

and peace here means the state taking

tougher action la muerte let the murder

the assassination of the look singer

Makai is in their home is the result of

unrestrained violence muna in Ponyville

I would all bop your lentil absolute

them in the state is incapable of

punishing groups who are extremely well

known from the police to the

intelligence agencies and the judges it

is incapable of issuing sentences that

will put the perpetrators away once and

for all

Medicus us shows us how rapidly the

number of attacks has increased over the

last year the dispute over land she says

poses a threat to Chilean society as a

whole she therefore supports the use of

the anti-terror law dating back to the

time of the Pinochet dictatorship enough

is enough

now we have nothing to do with Pinochet

but the law can ensure security in the

21st century it provides for information

gathering that can be used to prevent

radical groups from attacking their

fellow citizens

the authority stand accused of using

Pinochet's memes to suppress them

approaching and using the indigenous law

to reward violence their failed to get

to the root of the problem torn between

different political interest groups

Chile seems further away than ever from

finding a solution

David look cigar takes us along to a

women's group who wants to raise

awareness nationwide for their problems

from farm attacks to violence against

their children and having to live in

constant fear hello the group numbers

400 members this woman is a farmer with

German roots she agrees to talk to us if

we don't use her name she's used to the

group being dismissed as right-wing but

for her it's a personal issue you may

see this many kinder I want my children

to grow up in peace I don't want them to

have to move away this is their home

city I'm not here she's recorded all the

attacks and a calendar


it's Group A here we the Maharis pull

our kanya have seen how the media do not

report on these incidents so people in

santiago have no idea about them so we

asked ourselves what we could do to

visualize the problem for people that's

why we've been compiling a calendar

since January 2016 taken together the

results are shocking every month there

are more days with attacks than with

none of course this is an attack on your

property on your lives depending on the

circumstances but still the question

remains can you appreciate whether

Mapuche say we want the land back that

was once taken from us I did understand

it at first but now they have so many

tracts of land and they've received so

much help and they do nothing with it

it's unproductive land now I'm a farmer

and when I see that all they grow are

mullah and pika-pika

then I don't understand it so stage this


the accusation that the Mapuche are lazy

and unproductive is a common one among

settlers but what the settlers see is

laziness is for the indigenous people

simply living at one with nature the

maintenance of the raw material it's

about the mapuches relationship with the

earth and about balance we give the

earth time to recover we don't go around

transforming the forests rivers lakes

and coastal landscapes we respect nature

as it is because we know that other

animals also need it as a habitat animal

Ikki given vehicle a tiara

unlike the Christians yet the Mapuche do

not subjugate the earth for their own

needs they see it in its entirety and

themselves as part of it for them Nature

has a soul saving espacio lost alone in

there is a place where the Lian live

they're the guardians of the earth their

spirits our ancestors are also needed


you have to establish a profound

relationship with the earth you have to

recognize deep inside who than the N are

without them we would lose our

connection to nature there are a lot of

the end more than there are people we

humans only have short lives than the

end live forever the three of them head

off to a place when the N reside to ask

their permission they complain to the

nhien that they have been falsely blamed

for the death of the look singers as a

gift for the spirits they sprinkle flour

into the water which is simply the

police of will and realism in north for

the Mapuche nature has always been

paradise we don't want to build great

buildings the buildings of nature are

more important than the buildings of

people this is why unlike the Aztecs and

Mayans the Mapuche do not have great

buildings colonization pushed us away

from nature when we regain our habitat

we will find our way back to plants to

our faith our language and spirituality


this is a sacred place for them a

natural and untouched forest


here they find countless plants and

herbs with properties and uses that Emma

and Maria are well-acquainted with

population if you get sick the guardian

of the forest tells you in a dream which

remedy you need because you are a map

uchi a part of the earth then we search

for the remedy and when we find it we

dedicate a prayer to it



kuan takes us alone to see Jose Adele

he's the longer a traditional chief of

the mapuche community he's also a

professor of history at the Catholic

University of tamuca Goodell is

convinced that the Mapuche have to

rediscover their identity and pride in

order to secure their right direction

yellow question but we lost all our

rights the right to education the right

to medical care the right to dignity it

won't stop until we rediscover our

Mapuche roots the Mapuche have had

everything taken from them among those

doing the taking with the look singers

when they first settled in the region

not losing it if they were feeling lucky

when up the old man Conrad look singer

had a grocery store

he saw that people were hungry and sold

them food for them to live on but the

people couldn't afford to pay and got

deeper and deeper into debt yeah with

this one look singer then arrived with

the police he took away their animals

all their possessions and eventually

their land as well you have to look at

how many hectares they started out with

and how many they have today you can

quench their thirst and out

during the family gathering we

confronted Jorge look singer with this

account none of that is true I'd Nick

none of it if you look in here you'll

see everything that look singers got

from the state was paid for you never

bought land belonging to the Mapuche

nits no not a single square meter from

the Mapuche it was all from private

owners so from private farmers whatever

the truth is the past has always dogged

the look singers and has made them a

primary target for attacks as the

younger generation can also testify I'm

worried about going out on the street

because it's dangerous someone might

hurt me and when these issues come up at

my university I'm afraid to speak my

mind because it's too dangerous

express an opinion but gets arrested the

leaders fears Jorge Andres his daughter

Joyce had to have police protection when

she went to high school but she's

determined to stay put I love this land

if I have children I want them to be

able to live here too

but the others have had enough the ink

is not gonna thicken em all the conflict

is something we've been living with

since the age of five we're sick of it

they're well educated and have little

interest in farming their parents

struggle is a futile one in the eyes of

the next generation the situation for

the Mapuche is a different one


they say an opportunity to take their

fate into their own hands

as they do at the rapper mackelway

festival there are no commercial

sponsors involved and no police we also

need the Dzhokhar family here Kwan and

his siblings have jobs at the festival

earning money needed for the appeal

they're planning at the inter-american

Court of Human Rights they want their

father back when someone is sentenced to

so many years in jail it's as if they

died the father is missing in the family

he is missed by the children's missed in

the house and in the fields it's hard

and we know he's innocent

the Mapuche feel criminalized by state

it discriminates against them they feel

marginalized and want their own

autonomous society away from the main

stage as a gathering of political

activists they discuss various issues

life in the community politics and new

forms of the fight for liberation

it's a parliament a platform for

discussions and exchanges of opinion and

opinion making the people talked about

their experiences in the liberation

struggle and voiced their opinions on

the current situation I think it's

important and that we should do it in

the future too to win more people to the

cause first we discuss matters with each

other and then act that's the right way

it's an event that brings together

festivities with political activism

and Quan himself will soon be taken to

the stage

the guilty verdicts for Hosea Lewis have

a wider impact than just on a two count

family he says he calls the sentences an

attack on the entire my pussy people it

was an unjust verdict in the Luke singer

trial makai against our brothers the

trial cows bear on the run from the

racist Chilean government but we will

continue to fight for our freedom for

autonomy and self-determination we're

fighting for independence from the state

that has oppressed us for so long we

want freedom for our country and freedom

for Luis and Jose trial coat N days

after the public appeal by Juan and his


the police found and arrested Jose

tracker and Luis choco


Italian states policy towards them

appreciate remains contradictory neither

the left nor the right seem to have a

viable resolution to offer as the battle

for the land continues

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