This article explores the multiple ways in which the 1934 massacre of peasants in Ránquil in the Chilean Andean region of Lonquimay has been remembered and explained in Chile across the twentieth and the beginning of the twenty-first centuries. With the rise of the left and internal Communist Party debates in the 1930s, Ránquil first became an emblem of popular resistance and the unity between Mapuche and non-Mapuche peasants who were willing to sacrifice all in the name of revolution. During the Popular Unity government of Salvador Allende, Ránquil was one of several massacres transformed into narratives of popular heroism that were used as emblems to support the construction of a new and more inclusive national community. Yet because of Ránquil's unique location along the southern frontier where Chilean expansion into Mapuche territory created a rupture in the national imaginary that has yet to be closed, the presence of Mapuche peasants in the massacre continues to be debated until the present day. Ránquil is therefore an especially meaningful example of how debates over memory can serve as windows into the deeper conflicts and anxieties present in any society.

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