Machi Francisca Linconao, a traditional spiritual leader of the Mapuche people in Chile, is currently under house arrest. She is a well-known activist on behalf of her forest and people and has recently been on hunger strike to end her incarceration. Linconao’s treatment has been criticised by many international human rights organisations including Amnesty International.
International craft artisan and activist Camila Larsen will be chairing a public meeting in solidarity with Francisca Linconao this Thursday in Auckland’s Albert Park. During the meeting participants will be crocheting a guñelve flag, and comparing the indigenous struggles of Chile and Aotearoa.
Auckland Peace Action (APA) and Racial Equity Aotearoa (REA) call on the Chilean government to drop the charges against Francisca Linconao, release all Mapuche political prisoners, cease all human rights violations against the Mapuche people, and repeal the draconian Anti-Terrorist legislation used against Mapuche activists.
Racial Equity Aotearoa spokesperson Ricardo Menéndez March said “We support and stand in solidarity with the Mapuche people and their fight for sovereignty. The struggle against militarisation of indigenous land is one that is shared across the world, including here in Aotearoa.”
Francisca Linconao has been accused of murder on flimsy evidence and is being held on a long pre-trial detention under the Pinochet-era anti-terror law, which makes due process impossible. The militarisation of the Mapuche land in the Araucanía Region has led to many cases of disappearances and torture.
Artisan Camila Larsen said “Many people in Chile have been using textile crafts to show their solidarity with machi Francisca Linconao. Crafting alone won’t take her or any other of the political prisioners out of their confinement, that’s for sure. But it brings us together and allow us to exercise thinking in a different way. While the hand is moving, focused in the textures and forms, following the rythmic pattern, the mind can go to places where it is not allowed during our day by day activies. We cannot separate body from thought. To do is to think: manual work is not less important than intellectual work; we can practice them at the same time.”