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Articulating Rapa NuiPolynesian Cultural Politics in a Latin American Nation-State$
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Riet Delsing

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780824851682

Published to Hawaii Scholarship Online: November 2016

DOI: 10.21313/hawaii/9780824851682.001.0001

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Integration into the Nation-State and the Beginnings of a Rapanui Identity Discourse

Integration into the Nation-State and the Beginnings of a Rapanui Identity Discourse

(p.61) Chapter 2 Integration into the Nation-State and the Beginnings of a Rapanui Identity Discourse
Articulating Rapa Nui

Riet Delsing

University of Hawai'i Press

The chapter discusses the cooptation of some Rapanui leaders by successive Chilean governments and, simultaneously, the growing articulation of a Rapanui identity discourse between the 1960s and 1980s. In 1964 a revolt took place, led by Alfonso Rapu, a young Rapanui school teacher, which paved the path for the full integration of Isla de Pascua (Easter Island) into the Chilean national political economy. This was done through a specific law, issued in 1966, the so called Ley Pascua. Although this law emphasized equality for the Rapanui within the Chilean nation-state, it simultaneously obscured and weakened Rapanui cultural differences. The Ley Pascua caused a huge influx of Chileans to the island mainly because of the benefits granted to mainland Chileans. The Rapanui complained about the new situation in an extensive letter to the Chilean Congress.The Ley Pinochet of 1979, issued during the dictatorship, further fomented Chilenization and firmly installed the concept of land as individual private property. A staunch ally of the Pinochet government during those years was the first Rapanui governor, Sergio Rapu. During the 1980s, the Consejo de Ancianos (Elders’ Council) played a major role in Rapanui resistance against the Ley Pinochet, albeit within a nation-state discourse.

Keywords:   identity, integration, revolt, Alfonso Rapu, Sergio Rapu, Ley Pascua, Ley Pinochet, Chilenization, private land, Elders’ Council

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