Resistance and the re-appropriation of the warrior trope in Mapuche cultural production

  • Sandra Collins

    Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisDoctor of Philosophy


    During the time I was engaged in this research project, there was a constant flow of news stories in the Chilean media regarding the ‘terrorist’ or ‘criminal’ activity of the Mapuche people of southern Chile. The latest story to receive international attention was the suspected arson attack by a group of Mapuche on a fundo in Vilcún, which led to the death of two elderly colonos (the Luchsingers) in January 2013. Discussing the incident the same week on a popular television programme, the celebrity psychologist Dr. Maria Luisa Cordero, resorted to a racist argument which looked to the killing of conquistador Pedro de Valdivia by Mapuche in 1558 as proof that ‘la lealtad y la transparencia no es una característica de la raza mapuche’. Her views are not unusual; indeed they illustrate the perspectives shared by many Chileans with regards to the conflict that appears ‘out of nowhere’ and is often explained away by the inherent rebelliousness of the Mapuche people. Such opinions are commonly expressed through the lens of the indigenous warrior; in Cordero’s case the interpretation of the sixteenth-century indigenous hero, Lautaro as ‘traidor, piojento y cobarde’ recasts early Mapuche resistance as criminal activity.

    Date of AwardDec 2013
    Original languageEnglish
    Awarding Institution
    • Queen's University Belfast
    SponsorsNorthern Ireland Department for the Economy, Santander UK plc, Sir Thomas Dixon Travel Scholarship & Cork County Council
    SupervisorAndrew Redden (Supervisor), Anthony Soares (Supervisor) & Sarah Bowskill (Supervisor)

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