View Full Version : The little woman with a finger in the dike

Limor Wolf
2nd January 2014, 12:22
http://media.miamiherald.com/smedia/2013/12/28/12/49/xGwNO.Bi.55.jpeg Nicolasa Quintreman

A Mapuche Indian leader who became the face of Chile's environmental movement was found floating in a reservoir she spent a decade trying to prevent from being created, and authorities said Wednesday they were awaiting autopsy results although the death appeared accidental

While there was no official cause of death yet for Nicolesa Quintreman, a 73-year-old who was nearly blind, prosecutor Carlos Diaz said that "she apparently slipped, fell into the lake and died."

Quintreman became a national figure in Chile during protests against the construction of a hydroelectric dam on tribal land in the forested mountains of southern Chile. She led a public fight against the European power company Endesa at a time when Chile's environmental enforcement was lax and its indigenous protection law wasn't closely followed.

It was an outsized impact for a tiny old woman who was nearly blind and very fragile. With their simple dignity, mixing rudimentary Spanish with the Mapuche's Mapudungun language, she and her sister refused to move for more than a decade after the $570 million project was proposed.

"She left a very profound mark, this legacy that has since been followed by so many people, it will remain there, imperishable ... Relations between indigenous people and the state are now seen differently," said Domingo Namuncura, who led Chile's indigenous people's agency at the time and now leads the Party for Democracy, which is part of president-elect Michelle Bachelet's center-left New Majority coalition.


Nicolasa Quintreman struggled to understand why Endesa considered her to be poor, and her community worth sacrificing.

"She took my hand, led me behind her shack and showed me a series of plants and gardens, tomatoes and other things, her chickens, her animals," Namuncura recalled. "She said: 'Look at all I have, I have these waters, these forests, I have the sun, the light of the day, the firewood, my food. I don't need more. I consider myself rich because I have this wealth that nature provides me.'"

Hundreds of people attended her funeral Friday in Alto Bio Bio, a new community created for the displaced Indians, and the many eulogies to her made clear that despite the disappointments, Quintreman and her sister Berta, who is still alive, built a profound legacy.

Endesa did not respond to requests for comment about Quintreman's death, and made no public statements about her legacy this week. Chile's Social Development Minister Bruno Barada said, "We deeply lament the death of Nicolasa, we share our grief with her family and with the community of Alto Bio Bio in general, joining the innumerable demonstrations of sorrow, expressing as the government our infinite demonstrations of solidarity."


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2nd January 2014, 16:49
An example of How To Live. I'm sure she is shining her light in happier realms. Sad to lose someone like her.

2nd January 2014, 21:54
We do lose some wonderful people on this planet whom make some great contributions and sacrifices to Planet Earth and Humanity.
"Energy cannot be created or destroyed but can change its form or state".
Im sure she will be back to accomplish yet even more.
Wanishee Limor : )