Francisca Linconao

Francisca Linconao Huircapán (born September 18, 1958), also known as Machi Linconao, is a machi (a Mapuche spiritual authority) and human rights activist in Chile. She became the first Indigenous rights defender in Chile to successfully invoke the 1989 Indigenous and Tribal Peoples Convention when she sued to stop a company from logging a forest adjacent to her community. In 2021, she was elected as a representative of the Mapuche people to the Chilean Constitutional Convention election.[1][2][3]

Francisca Linconao
Francisca Linconao.jpg
Member of the Constitutional Convention of Chile
In office
July 4, 2021 – July 4, 2021
Personal details
Francisca Linconao Huircapán

(1958-09-18) September 18, 1958 (age 64)
Padre Las Casas, Chile

Early lifeEdit

Linconao was born in Padre Las Casas, Chile, in 1958.[4][5] She was one of nine children, and her father died when she was a baby.[5] Despite her initial hesitation, wanting to stay in school, at age 12 she became a machi, a Mapuche traditional healer and religious leader.[5] She went on to become both a spiritual leader and a human rights defender for the Mapuche people.[6]

Machi Linconao v. PalermoEdit

In 2008, she submitted a protection action known as a recurso de protección [es] against Sociedad Palermo Ltd., owned by the Taladriz family, to stop the company from illegally felling trees and shrubs of the native forest along the slopes of Cerro Rahue and replacing them with pine trees.[5] The trees and shrubs were located within the Palermo Chico farm, next to her community. The logging was affecting not only the Cerro Rahue ecosystem but also a wetland known as a menoko that Linconao and her people consider sacred.[7][8]

In 2009, the Temuco Court of Appeals [es] ruled in Linconao's favor, a ruling that was upheld by the Supreme Court. It was the first judgement in Chile that took into consideration the 1989 Indigenous and Tribal Peoples Convention of the International Labour Organization, making Linconao the first Indigenous rights defender in the country to successfully invoke the convention.[7][9]

Luchsinger-Mackay caseEdit

In 2013, Linconao was one of the Mapuches linked to the Luchsinger-Mackay case [es], in which a couple, Werner Luchsinger and Vivianne Mackay, died in a house fire that was blamed on arson amid the Mapuche conflict. Linconao was arrested in the afternoon on the day of the fire.[10] She was accused of terrorism and illegal arms possession.[11] Authorities alleged an improvised shotgun was found at her home during a raid, but during her trial the official who had supposedly found the shotgun in her home never testified, and no one could even recall his name. The court dismissed the charges, acquitted Linconao, and ordered she be compensated.[12]

On March 1, 2016, she was imprisoned and faced a new judicial process for the same charges.[13] She began a hunger strike on December 22, 2016, after spending nine months in pretrial detention.[14] Fourteen days later, she ended her hunger strike after the Temuco Court of Appeals allowed her to leave pretrial detention and instead be put under house arrest.[15]

On August 22, 2017, the World Organisation Against Torture's Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders, the International Federation for Human Rights, and the Chilean organization Observatorio Ciudadano issued a statement of concern about using the Chilean Anti-Terrorist Law [es] against Linconao and 10 other Mapuche community members.[16]

The Oral Criminal Tribunal [es] in Temuco acquitted Linconao on October 18, 2017. But then, on December 29, 2017, the Temuco Court of Appeals annulled that decision, ordering the reopening of the case. Eventually, on May 10, 2018, she was acquitted of all the charges against her.[6][17]

Chilean Constitutional ConventionEdit

In January 2021, Linconao gathered the required signatures to become a candidate for the 2021 Chilean Constitutional Convention election, running to represent District 23 of the Araucanía Region, and as a representative of the Mapuche people.[1][2][3]

In the constituent election held in Chile on May 15–16, 2021, she obtained 83.51% of the votes where there were votes from the Mapuche people, becoming the candidate with the most votes among Indigenous peoples. Thus, she was elected as one of the seven Mapuche representatives in the Constitutional Convention.[18]

Early reports suggested that Francisca Linconao was seen as "the natural candidate" for indigenous members of the Constitutional Convention to support for president of the body. However, Linconao declined to run, instead proposing that Elisa Loncón stand for the presidency of the convention during a Winter solstice meeting held in her house in Padre Las Casas.[19] Loncón agreed to run for the presidency, and was elected on 4 July 2021 after the Convention was inaugurated.[20]


  1. ^ a b "Machi Linconao logró reunir las firmas necesarias y presentará su candidatura constituyente". CNN Chile (in Spanish). 2021-01-05. Retrieved 2021-05-11.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  2. ^ a b Stuardo, Manuel (2021-01-11). "Machi Francisca Linconao inscribe candidatura como constituyente tras reunir las firmas solicitadas". BioBioChile (in Spanish). Retrieved 2021-05-11.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  3. ^ a b Huenchumil, Paula (2021-03-15). "Ingrid Conejeros: "Chile podría cambiar hasta su nombre en este proceso constituyente"". Interferencia (in Spanish). Retrieved 2021-05-11.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  4. ^ "The Chilean government must not use antiterrorist legislation to prosecute Machi Linconao and the Mapuche". International Federation for Human Rights. 2017-08-22. Retrieved 2021-05-11.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  5. ^ a b c d Penjean, Lorena; Miranda, Benjamín (2018-08-12). "Francisca Linconao: "Yo no quería ser Machi"". The Clinic (in Spanish). Retrieved 2021-05-11.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  6. ^ a b "Machi Francisca Linconao". Front Line Defenders (in Spanish). 2018-04-11. Retrieved 2021-05-11.
  7. ^ a b Faundes, Juan Jorge (2010). "Primera sentencia que aplica el convenio nº 169 de la OIT en Chile. Derecho a vivir en un medio ambiente libre de contaminaciòn comprende el concepto de territorio, hábitat y protecciòn de la cultura de los pueblos indígenas" (PDF). Revista chilena de derecho y ciencia política (in Spanish). No. 1. pp. 97–113. ISSN 0718-9389. Retrieved 2021-05-11.
  8. ^ Cayuqueo, Pedro (2016-03-31). "Francisca Linconao: Una machi con historia". La Tercera. Retrieved 2021-05-11.
  9. ^ "Chile: Ongoing criminalisation of Mapuche leader, Machi Francisca Linconao". Front Line Defenders. 2018-05-10. Retrieved 2021-05-11.
  10. ^ Huenchumil Jerez, Paula (2018). Ecos de un Cultrun: El caso de la machi Francisca Linconao en la prensa chilena (PDF). Working papers series 44 (in Spanish). Ñuke Mapuförlaget.
  11. ^ "Chile: Urge asegurar el debido proceso en el juicio que enfrenta la defensora indígena machi Francisca Linconao". Amnistía Internacional (in Spanish). 2017-01-05. Retrieved 2021-05-11.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  12. ^ Salgado Medina, Catalina Elisa (2017-01-05). "¿Quién es la Machi Francisca Linconao?". Desinformémonos (in Spanish). Retrieved 2021-05-11.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  13. ^ "Francisca Linconao (La Machi)". Business & Human Rights Resource Centre. Retrieved 2021-05-11.
  14. ^ "Francisca Linconao, activista mapuche en huelga de hambre". Cimacnoticias (in Mexican Spanish). 2017-01-06. Retrieved 2021-05-11.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  15. ^ "Machi Francisca Linconao terminó su huelga de hambre". CNN Chile (in Spanish). 2017-01-05. Retrieved 2021-05-11.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  16. ^ "Comunicado conjunto: Estado chileno debe abstenerse de utilizar la…". OMCT (in Spanish). 2017-08-22. Retrieved 2021-05-11.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  17. ^ "Chile: condenan a comuneros mapuches por mediático crimen". Deutsche Welle (in European Spanish). 2018-05-05. Retrieved 2021-05-11.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  18. ^ "Francisca Linconao obtiene la más alta votación para los escaños reservados del pueblo mapuche". CNN Chile (in Spanish). 2021-05-17. Retrieved 2021-05-17.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  19. ^ Wilson, José Miguel (July 4, 2021). "Cómo se gestó el triunfo de Loncón y la medición de fuerzas entre la alianza FA-PS y el bloque PC-Lista del Pueblo". Ex-Ante (in Spanish). Retrieved July 6, 2021.
  20. ^ "Elisa Loncón, representante del pueblo mapuche, se transforma en presidenta de la Convención Constitucional". Diario y Radio U Chile (in European Spanish). Retrieved 2021-07-04.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)