Autochthony and investment beliefs as bases for territorial ownership and compensation in settler societies: The case of Indigenous and non-Indigenous groups in Chile

Elsevier, International Journal of Intercultural Relations, Volume 85, November 2021
Nooitgedagt W., Figueiredo A., Martinovic B., Marambio K.

We examined how autochthony belief (entitlements from first arrival) and investment belief (entitlements from working the land) guide attitudes towards territorial compensation of Indigenous groups in settler societies. We expected autochthony and investment beliefs to be respectively related to more and less territorial compensation, via higher and lower perceptions of Indigenous ownership. We tested this in Chile among non-Indigenous Chileans and Indigenous Mapuche. In Study 1 among non-Indigenous Chilean students (N = 611) we found that autochthony belief was related to a greater support for territorial compensation of the first inhabitants, the Mapuche, whereas investment belief was related to a lesser support for territorial compensation. In Study 2 we contrasted self-identified non-Indigenous Chileans (N = 121) with self-identified Indigenous Mapuche (N = 226) and found that for both groups autochthony belief was related to greater support for territorial compensation via higher recognition of Indigenous territorial ownership. Interestingly, for non-Indigenous Chileans, investment belief was related to less willingness to compensate, whereas for Mapuche it was related to more claims for compensation via stronger perceptions of Indigenous ownership. Together, these findings show that endorsement of autochthony belief is an argument that validates Indigenous ownership among both groups, whereas different dimensions of the investment belief can be used by both groups to claim more positive outcomes for their own in-group. Availability of data and material & Code availability: The data and analysis code are publicly available at