Case #765
Title: Indigenous People in Chile Win Their Own Health Care Facility
Summary: At the tip of South America, the Mapuche are re-discovering their power to heal themselves and the Earth as they struggle with the effects of oil exploitation, repression, and illness. Established through the joint efforts of community members, a small government grant, and the cooperation of the local Anglican church, the intercultural health program and hospital facility blends traditional health, healing philosophy, and treatment plans with Western based medicine. For many Mapuche, the recovery at places like Maquehue of their kimun, or traditional knowledge, and the demonstrations against oil, tourism, mining, and logging companies are part of the same effort, an effort to fulfill their role as "keepers of the earth in balance."
Comments: STRATEGY: Establish a health care center (located in Mapuche homelands) geared specifically for Mapuche people. Combine traditional healing methodology (including support of the people who administrate and participate in it) with Western medicine resources so that each patient may choose between the two systems, or combine them.
WHAT WORKS: Recognition, support for, and practice of indigenous healing methods. A positive atmosphere of non-racism for the patients. Hope that lands growing traditional plants can be protected. Recognition that the health facility is a key part of the indigenous struggle to save and protect their lands and world.
IMPORTANT POINTS: In both Chile and Argentina, Mapuche people have been fighting the invasion of multi-national corporations involved in petroleum extraction. These indigenous peoples have suffered the usual imported illnesses that face other Native American people: diabetes, hypertension, tuberculosis. When they showed up to be treated at the local hospital, they encountered racism and neglect. In addition, lands that produced traditional herbal remedies were destroyed by the resource extraction activity. In addition to fighting to protect their traditional heath practices, they are actively involved in protesting the ills inflicted upon them by the large corporations.
Location: Chile
Action: Human Rights, Indigenous, Corporate/Economic Abuses
Setting: Third World
Extent of Action: Local
Categories: Human Rights, Indigenous, Corporate/Economic Abuses
Year(s): 2000
Outcome successful for now
Source: Yes! Magazine, Spring 2003, p. 39
Prepared By: sl, 4/06
Rating: 1