I’m taking my International Area Studies capstone this semester! It’s crazy how fast everything has been passing me by. It seems like only a few weeks ago when I decided to bite the bullet and declare an IAS major, but I digress.

For my capstone paper, I will be writing about the Chilean Nationalism versus the nationalism of the Mapuche people, the third largest ethnic group in Chile, and a group on indigenous people who are not recognized by their country’s constitution. My paper is 20 pages on the history of the Mapuche people, from about 500AD to present day, and their relationship with their country, focusing on the social, political, and economic aspects of the topic. I won’t bore you with all the nitty-gritty details, but the relationship isn’t great.

Most of the contention between the Mapuche and non-indigenous Chileans revolves in some way around the Mapuche ancestral lands. These were taken from the Mapuche over generations and getting them back has proved difficult to say the least. That, combined with heavy anti-Mapuche sentiment and social policies, has led to a very tense atmosphere. Progress has been made in recent years, but it isn’t much and it isn’t fast.

My paper also focused on the growth of Chilean and Mapuche nationalism throughout these conflicts. It was fascinating to study how these separate nationalistic ideologies influenced each other over the generations they have coexisted.

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