A Mapuche woman holds a canelo branch during the Columbus Day Protest in Santiago, Chile, Oct. 12, 2009. photo by Eileen Mignoni
Nacho and I decided to start a blog together. More accurately, I decided we should start a blog together, and he didn’t object.
1. We work together constantly. I do what I can to help him, he perfects my work. To put up work on separate blogs would really muddle the contributions of each. We’re beginning to pitch work as partners, so it makes sense that we would have a place to show our work together.
2. More content. As much as we help each other, we are also working on individual projects and taking our own photos. A great problem I’ve seen amongst the blogs I have been looking at, is that there is a fall off in content and many, many apologies for not having posting for a span of time. I will never apologize for not having posted. I may take a break from posting, but I’m not apologizing. However, two people working together will lesson the lags in content and posts.
I went looking for a recent photo of us together. I found only one but I did not like it. Such is what happens when one of two people is always the shooter. Instead, I found this image.
Every year on Columbus Day, the Native American tribes in Chile hold a protest against, well, Columbus and everything he brought to the land. Since I arrived in Chile, there have been repeated acts of violence further south against Chilean law and lumber companies further south in Chile, near to Temuco. Often a militant wing of the Mapuche clan burns trucks and buildings of the lumber companies. The land was sold, many times forcibly, to settlers in distant and recent history. The Mapuches are protesting the logging of land that they believe should belong to them. The government, from time to time, steps in, buys back a large parcel of land, and distributes it to the Mapuche. The logging rights, frequently, then are sold by the Mapuche. A little before this image was taken, the militant branch declared independence from Chile. It’s hard to say at this point what will come of it.
I know these things only from news reports and discussions in Spanish, so I cannot authoritatively write. I am repeating what I know so far. There will be more thorough posts in the future about this topic.
Nacho and I shot the length of this protest. It was composed of many different tribes from throughout Chile, with the Mapuche far outnumbering the rest, as they do in the makeup of Chile. It began with men holding sticks pushing back the press. There were lines and lines of somber people holding signs, flags and sacred canelo branches. Many people wore signs on their front and back with photos and names of people who had disappeared. Persecution under Pinochet was particularly severe. In the parade, these people were followed by Anarchists and Socialists. These were followed by performers – singers and dancers. We shot everyone. Out of all of my photos, this woman seemed the most pertinent. The singers and dancers, while visually interesting, did nothing to show the sentiment of the people there. The Anarchists and Socialists seemed to be there because they like demonstrating. This woman, to me, seemed best to represent the overall mood, as well, speak to permeation of dissatisfaction within the native population of Chile.