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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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The Road to Self-determination

The Road to Self-determination

(p.87) Chapter 3 The Road to Self-determination
Articulating Rapa Nui

Riet Delsing

University of Hawai'i Press

In the 1990s, Rapanui discourse turned from an emphasis on equality within the Chilean nation-state to one on cultural difference. In 1993 a Ley Indígena was issued in response to the “indigenous problem” after the return to democracy in Chile in 1990. In reaction to the Ley Indígena a split of the Elders’ Council occurred in 1994, mainly caused by contesting visions about land and territory. In the context of the Ley Indígena a special commission was created for Rapa Nui, the Comisión de Desarrollo (Development Commission).The incompatibility between giving private land deeds to individuals and the Rapanui concept of kaiŋa (land as territory) is being played out in this commission, whose task is to supervise the distribution of plots of land to individual Rapanui. The chapter continues with a discussion of the difference between Rapanui customary law versus Chilean western law and the land distribution policy of Chilean institutions, resulting in the complex process of “returning” land, albeit not the territory to the Rapanui people, during the last few years. I then describe how in 2000 and 2002 the Chilean government created two commissions meant to correct the historical relationship between Chile and Rapa Nui. The chapter ends with an analysis of current discussions about a Special Statute which is to govern the Special Territory created in 2007.

Keywords:   equality, difference, Ley Indígena, Elders’ Council, Comisión de Desarrollo, land distribution, Chile, Rapa Nui, Special Territory

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