This essay addresses how indigenous memory haunts the Chilean nation as a past-present index of unaccounted-for discursive and material violence. This extends far beyond the forty-year window of memories about state terror and leftist “dissident” activity, although as many labor historians have documented, the twentieth century has been filled with antilabor massacres. The term past-present indexes the continuum of colonization within a web of extractive capitalism that began in the 1500s and has persisted during the past forty years of neoliberalism until the present, an extractive capitalist complex that, despite shifts in its mode of production and representation, continues to unequally structure both relations between humans and relations between humans and other species. Yet, within the Chilean context, this web has been historically challenged by Mapuche, Pehuenche, and Huilliche peoples, not only in terms of militant push back but also importantly in the realm of an embodied archive of cultural memory. To understand Mapuche cultural memory, culture must be recognized not as epiphenomenal, or as secondary to processes of colonization, but as the location of innovation and engagement that produces social and sacred connections to the natural world. The essay explores two recent films that put Mapuche and Huilliche peoples at the center of visual memories, other socialities, and indigenous representation to argue that Southern Cone memory studies must take into account a longer arc of cultural memory in relation to colonial and state violence.

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