The assassination of Camilo Catrillanca, a Mapuche activist, is not an isolated incident in Chile. The violence in the Wallmapu is longstanding, and unfortunately, the academic community in Chile has not responded with the determination and commitment that these events are requiring. The call of the Mapuche poet Daniela Catrileo to the academic community, “academics get out of your comfort zone, because we (Mapuche) are being killed and there is no paper that can withstand that pain” challenges us. Those of us who subscribe to this statement, we make a call to generate reflexive spaces on how research responds to the problems of our country, particularly the violence experienced by the Mapuche nation.
The academics have a fundamental responsibility in the construction of ideas and knowledge contributing to the formation of new generations of citizens. More than ever, the researchers of education in Chile must be critical of how our scholarly work contributes to reproduce the structural violence of our country, which today is manifested in the Wallmapu, but also in initiatives such as the “Safe Classroom” project, policies of expulsion of migrants, discrimination against people of African descent and constant violence against women and sexual dissidence at all levels of the Chilean formal education.
Thus, we call the academics to:
- To recognize that research, in contexts of violence such as those of the Mapuche people, cannot be reduced to a specific intervention or to a specific moment. Research must be thought to think on how we contribute to their total sovereignty.
- To change the extractive practices of research that convert the knowledge of the people we study just into an object of researcher professional benefits.
- To use research validation methods that include, with an ethical treatment, the rendering of accounts to the communities directly affected by our investigations. In the case of those who study the Mapuche people, we must ensure that research on their knowledge and culture are first validated and appropriated by them.
- To question the type of problems and research questions we are raising in our research, rejecting those questions that assume racist and discriminatory prejudices regarding students, parents, teachers and the whole Mapuche community.
- To recognize, with humility, that in addition to the classical research that dominates the academy, there are other ways of constructing knowledge. Maybe, it’s time to consider the body as part of that knowledge construction.
Those of us who subscribe this statement are aware that this call does not change the conditions in the Wallmapu, nor those of structural violence. However, we understand that silence is another form of complicity. We strongly believe, academics have a privileged space to position topics on the research agenda and question practices that contribute to the preservation of violence in Wallmapu, as well as, to other groups that have been historically marginalized in the Chilean in society. We trust that this communication will encourage dialogues and actions that question the relations of violence in our country.
As RIECH, we invite everybody who adheres to this statement to sign in this link.