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Mapuche self determination within The framework of a Multinational State (speech extract)

By Pedro Cayaqueo, August 1999

I would like to begin my speech by clearing up some mistakes: the supposed single nationality of the Chilean state does not exist. It is a lie, invented by those sectors of Chilean society who have an interest in the continued domination, exploitation and oppression of the indigenous nations upon which the Republic of Chile was founded nearly two centuries ago. Today, pure one-nation states are a rare exception in international society ( for example, Portugal, Ireland and Iceland ). In fact, more than 90% of existing states are multinational, as they are made up of a wide variety of nations whose right to enjoy freedom and equality is denied by the state. This is also the real situation with regard to the Chilean State.

That is why it is more appropriate to use the concept of a `nation' to refer to the social and cultural groups which existed before the arrival of the Iberian conquerors, and to leave aside other concepts which only serve to perpetuate the control which the powerful and the exploiters have exerted over us for more than 500 years.