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Indians in Chile fight exploitation of forests

Frustrated with the lack of recognition of their rights, Indians in Chile are taking on the government and international timber companies in their quest to protect forest lands that once belonged to them.

Most Indians in Chile are members of the Mapuche Tribe, which signed treaties guaranteeing their rights. But the government later forced them onto reservations and they eventually lost much of their land base.

Tribal members have since launched protests against exploitation of the forest. But critics say Native activists are becoming too violent. The government has invoked a decades-old terrorism law to charge 18 Mapuche leaders for burning down forest lands, homes and timber equipment.

Get the Story:
Mapuche Indians in Chile Struggle to Take Back Forests (The New York Times 8/11)