The Mapuche’s resistance to the Spanish colonials was infamous, their nationalism and independence were legendary. Once a treaty was agreed, the Mapuche were designated land to farm and live on for centuries. Under Pinochet’s dictatorship the Mapuche native land was sold to the 7 most powerful families in Chile. The social, economic and environmental e ects of such a decision were, and are, catastrophic. Local fauna and ora were eradicated to make way for eucalyptus plantations, which dry out the land, therefore altering and ultimately destroying biodiversity. The Mapuche have been forced into the poor mountainous regions of Chile with limited means of making a living. During the Pinochet dictatorship an antiterrorism act was implemented to stop any form of opposition to the regime. The Mapuche still being imprisoned today for protesting against the continuous infringement of their rights and they often may spend up to 3 years in prison waiting for a trial, according to human rights activist. Ironically, the Mapuche, whose name in native language actually means “people of the land”, are fast becoming a landless people.

The reportage “Mapuche: people of the land” is part of a wider project called “Invisible people” by Luca Catalano Gonzaga. This project, carried out by Witness Image and financially supported by Nando and Elsa Peretti Foundation, gathers photo reportage on men, women and children whose lives have been forgotten amidst old and new forms of poverty and exploitation.