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Alberto Curamil MAPUCHE LEADER

The Mapuche people comprise the largest indigenous group in Chile. In their native language, Mapuche means “people of the land,” and they consider forests, rivers, and animals as their brothers.

Alberto Curamil is a mapuche leader who has dedicated his work to the protection of the native rivers and forests from the Araucanía region in Chile. He also supports local communities to recover their ancestral practices and preserve their native language.

HE organized the people of Araucanía to stop the construction of two hydroelectric projects on the sacred Cautín River in central Chile. The destructive projects, canceled in late 2016, would have diverted hundreds of millions of gallons of water from the river each day, harming a critical ecosystem and exacerbating drought conditions in the region.

He is a member of the 'Alianza Territorial Mapuche' – ATM - an organization that works for the right to water and the right to food, the rights to land and environmental rights in the south of Chile.

Alberto curamil received the goldman environmental prize on april 2019, as the most important environmental activist sor central and south america. ironically, he was in preventive prison while he received the prize.
Chile’s minister of energy announced a massive energy plan where the government and two private energy companies—SwissHydro and Agrisol—planned to build, without consulting Mapuche communities, two multi-million-dollar hydro projects on the Cautín River, in the heart of Mapuche territory. Those projects would reduce the amount of water flowing in rivers, which greatly increases the amount of sediment in the water, harming fish and other wildlife, destroying the natural flow of water, and eroding the sensitive riparian ecosystems.
Alberto curamil led social protests for 3 years against this projects despite attacks, persecution, and criminalization. he was accused of a bank robery and spent over a year in preventive imprisonment, until he was proven innocent.

"In Chile, indigenous communities defending the conservation of land in the face of destruction by huge companies, are persecuted " - Alberto Curamil

“the mapuche struggle is an ecological fight, a fight for life and its continuity. from jail, my father values and acknowledges the importance of this prize, a motivation to continue believing another world is possible" - Belén Curamil at the goldman environmental prize ceremony

There were lots of organizations campaigning for the support of Alberto Curamil´s release while he was in jail, at national and international level.

Credits:

1. TCDavis; Mapuche profiles; February 2, 2020; (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0). 2. Carol Crisosto Cadiz; mapuche, conflicto mapuche, 2010,chile; September 30, 2010; (CC BY-SA 2.0). 3. Official logo of the ‘Alianza Territorial Mapuche’. 4. Artur Warchavchik; Chile; December 29, 2014; (CC BY-NC 2.0). 5. Dennis Jarvis; Chile-03799 - Lautaro; October 22, 2019; (CC BY-SA 2.0). 6. Diego Martin; Mapuches; February 18, 2012; (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0).