During the first meeting of the Constitutional Convention on Sunday, July 4, Elisa Loncón was chosen as president of the body. Her election underscores the participation of the indigenous communities in the first democratic process of writing a new constitution for Chile. Following is her welcoming address:
“Feley. Mari mari pu lamngen, mari mari kom pu che, mari mari Chile mapu. Mari mari pu che ta tu lu ta pikum mapu püle. Mari mari pu che ta tu lu ta Patagonia püle. Mari Mari pu che ta tu lu ta dewiñ püle. Mari mari pu che ta tu lu ta lafken püle. Mari mari kom pu lamngen.
Greetings to the Chilean people, from the north to the Patagonia, from lafken, the sea, to the mountain range. To the islands, the whole Chilean nation, listening now. Here we are lamngen, here we are. I would like to thank the different coalitions that supported us, that gave us their trust and dreams in the Mapuche cause, and that chose a Mapuche woman to change the history of this country.
We, lamngen, are happy for the strength you give us, but this strength is for the Chilean people, for every sector, every region, every native community joining us, every lamngen, every organization. This greeting and appreciation also goes to sexual diversities, for women who fought every system that tried to dominate them. I appreciate that this time, we are starting a new way to be, a way to be plural, democratic, participatory.
This is why, this convention that I will be presiding over, will transform Chile into a multinational, intercultural Chile that respects women’s rights, or career rights. Into a Chile that takes care of Mother Earth, into a Chile that cleans its waters, against every domination pu lamngen, this is why brothers, everyone listening, a special greeting to the Mapuche lamngen from Wallmapu, this dream is our ancestor’s dream. This dream becomes true.
It is possible, brothers and sisters, to reform this Chile, establish a new relationship between the Mapuche people, the native communities, and every nation that this country is made of. In that context, pu lamngen, this is the first proof that this convention will be participatory, that this convention, chosen by us, as native communities, has established that management will be rotating, collective, that gives space to every sector represented here.
All of us together, lamngen, we will reform Chile. We need to widen our democracy, we need to widen participation, we need to involve every last corner of Chile, make them a part of this process, make it a transparent process, that we can be seen from every corner of our land, and in our native languages, that have been set aside for everything that the Chilean state has been. For the rights of our native nations, for the rights of the regions, for the rights of Mother Earth, for the rights of the children.
I also want to express my solidarity to the other native communities suffering. We have heard, through the television, what has happened to native children in Canada. It is shameful how colonialism has attacked the future of native communities. We are solidary people, this is why, brothers and sisters, we have done this. I want to give thanks especially to the native authority of the Mapuche people, Machi Francisca Linconao, for her support. Along with this, I also have a mother, a mother watching me now at my community in Lefweluan, a mother that also helped me get here. I want to thank every woman fighting for the future of their children pu lamngen.
Finally, I want to thank the children for listening. We are creating a new Chile, plural, multilingual, with every culture, with every community, with women, with the territories. That is our dream, to write a new constitution. Mañum pu lamngen, ¡Marichiweu! ¡Marichiweu! ¡Marichiweu!”
Watch the speech here on video:
Javiera is from Santiago de Chile, she is studying journalism at Universidad de Chile, since 2017 and doing her internship at Chile Today.