Every year on Thanksgiving, a sunrise ceremony at Alcatraz Island (famous as home to a US military prison and then federal prison until 1963) brings indigenous peoples from many parts of the globe as well as local supporters to celebrate the 1969 indigenous takeover of Alcatraz and ongoing indigenous resistance movements.
The Prisoner Hunger Strike Solidarity Coalition was thankful to have the opportunity to meet and speak with Ariel Traipi Huilipan, a representative from the Mapuche nation in Chile, who participated in the sunrise ceremony and spoke with us about the ongoing Mapuche prisoner hunger strike (that we mentioned last month).
As Huilipan explained, the striking Mapuche prisoners are being accused of terrorism – an allegation that he calls “unfounded” and said hasn’t been proven in any court, whether local or international. Rather, Huilipan said that Mapuches are being targeted in order for the Chilean government to get access to raw materials, which they are not willing to give up: “Respect the earth. We only have one.”
Detailed news about the Mapuche prisoner hunger strikes has been hard to come by. Below is part of a press release, dated November 23rd, 2012, and translated to English. Access the full press release HERE.
We communicate to the Mapuche Nation and general public opinion the following:
The CAM Mapuche Political Prisoners reaffirm their compromise with the hunger strike that began this past Wednesday, November 14th, until the final consequences.
This new mobilization pretends to denounce the following:
- Our pu peñi [Brothers] that have been persecuted and unjustly convicted through the application of the Antiterrorist Law, the use of “Secret Witnesses” and other devices in order to be sentenced to 8 and 15 years in prison respectively.
- We were doubly convicted by two different Courts, one Civil and the other Military, violating the principle of “NON BIS IN IDEM.” Being convicted to 3 and 4 years by Civil Justice when we had already been acquitted on the same charges (with Prosecutor Elgueta) through the Military Court.