Strengthening Mapuche governance in Nahuel Huapi National Park, Argentina
The Project “Strengthening Mapuche governance in Nahuel Huapi National Park, Argentina” will take place in the Zonal Council of Lafkenche, part of the Mapuche Confederation of Neuquen. Its goal is to strengthen a group of community authorities (a “team of leaders”) and to improve the capacities of the Mapuche Intercultural Council, which was established to co-manage the ICCAs (indigenous conserved territories) of Nahuel Huapi National Park. The project activities will contribute to the strengthening of the team of leaders by providing them with opportunities to learn in various fields– from an analysis of the legal situation to an understanding of the bio-cultural values of the conserved areas, from land use mapping techniques to other skills that will be defined by the participants themselves.
The team of leaders will be composed of officials who are part of the Steering Committee of the communities of Quintriqueo, Paichil Antriao, Quintupuray and Maciko/ Lagos D for a total of 20 people (5 from each community). The idea is that the Management Plan for the Nahuel Huapi National Park will become more meaningful and more effective as a result of incorporating the “Life Plans” of its Mapuche communities. The experience of doing so will be carefully monitored and the lessons learned thereby will be brought to bear to the international work of the ICCA Consortium, of which the Confederation Mapuche of Neuquen is a Member. The ethical principles of the communities— based on traditional Mapuche knowledge— will also be compiled and disseminated as training materials for other national parks that overlap with community territories and for the ICCAs that are found outside the jurisdiction of Protected Areas.
The strengthening of community solidarity is one of the most significant impacts expected from this initiative. Indeed, the initiative will affirm the pride of the communities to be part of an ancient culture in harmonious relationship with the natural environment. The communities will recover and strengthen the traditional knowledge needed to manage their territory. The initiative will involve young people as environmental guards (kona x the ixofijmogen). It will rediscover the capacity of the people to care for their territory, to defend it and to take decisions about its future. The project will also consolidate the Lafkence Zonal Council as a strategic mechanism for the 4 communities of the Park, and the figure of “Territorial Representative”, which serves as representative of these communities and of the Mapuche Confederation.