Courage Tastes of Blood

The Mapuche Community of Nicolás Ailío and the Chilean State, 1906-2001
Publisher: Duke University Press Books
Date of Publication:
Number of Volumes: Cloth over boards
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Product details:

No. of pages:344 pages
Size:250x150x15 mm
Weight:644 g
Illustrations: 28 photos, 4 maps, 1 figure
Long description:
Until now, very little about the recent history of the Mapuche, Chile’s largest indigenous group, has been available to English-language readers. Courage Tastes of Blood helps to rectify this situation. It tells the story of one Mapuche community—Nicolás Ailío, located in the south of the country—across the entire twentieth century, from its founding in the resettlement process that followed the military defeat of the Mapuche by the Chilean state at the end of the nineteenth century. Florencia E. Mallon places oral histories gathered from community members over an extended period of time in the 1990s in dialogue with one another and with her research in national and regional archives. Taking seriously the often quite divergent subjectivities and political visions of the community’s members, Mallon presents an innovative historical narrative, one that reflects a mutual collaboration between herself and the residents of Nicolás Ailío.

Mallon recounts the land usurpation Nicolás Ailío endured in the first decades of the twentieth century and the community’s ongoing struggle for restitution. Facing extreme poverty and inspired by the agrarian mobilizations of the 1960s, some community members participated in the agrarian reform under the government of socialist president Salvador Allende. With the military coup of 1973, they suffered repression and desperate impoverishment. Out of this turbulent period the Mapuche revitalization movement was born. What began as an effort to protest the privatization of community lands under the military dictatorship evolved into a broad movement for cultural and political recognition that continues to the present day. By providing the historical and local context for the emergence of the Mapuche revitalization movement, Courage Tastes of Blood offers a distinctive perspective on the evolution of Chilean democracy and its rupture with the military coup of 1973.

Courage Tastes of Blood explores how ordinary, marginalized indigenous peoples in Chile construct historical memory in small, discontinuous steps, a process which enables them to sustain a ‘politics of difference’ in a world where globalization threatens to further homogenize diversity in the name of economic progress and stability. Following this logic in her own practice, Florencia E. Mallon highlights the importance of everyday practices in understanding oral sources, and, in so doing, she challenges readers to reconsider the preconceptions of history as a field of knowledge that reproduces the rationality of power. This is a bold, fascinating, and highly original contribution to our understanding of indigenous lives, repression in Chile, and racism, and it provides a methodological lesson in rethinking fields of inquiry from the perspective of alternative knowledge producers.”—Arturo Arias, past president of the Latin American Studies Association
Table of Contents:
List of Illustrations xi

About the Series xiii

Acknowledgments xv

1. In the Fog Before Dawn: December 1970 1

2. And Then, Suddenly, the Land Disappeared, 1906–1940 34

3. A Generation without Shoes: Enduring in Poverty, 1940–1970 62

4. A Fleeting Prosperity, 1968–1973 92

5. When the Hearths Went Out, 1973–1992 136

6. Settlers Once Again, 1992–2001 184

7. Conclusion: Where the Past Meets the Future in Nicolás Ailío 228

Acronyms 249

Glossary 251

Notes 257

References Cited 297

Index 305