Indigenous Want Autonomy in Chile

The Mapuche, Chile’s largest indigenous population, is forming a political party in an effort gain autonomy and self-government.

The Wallmapuwen (party) hopes to be legally recognized later this year so that it has the time to organize and prepare to field candidates in the 2008 municipal elections.

The group plans to "restore the Mapuche nation as a political and administrative entity, under a statute of territorial autonomy that enshrines the rights of its native people, and establishes Mapuzugun as an official language."

"We need a political party so that we can discuss and promote the reforms that will be necessary along the long road towards territorial autonomy, and towards solving the social problems faced by people in this region," Pedro Gustavo Quilaqueo, a Wallmapuwen party organizer told Inter Press Service.