Jorge Reinao Necuñir, a farmer who believes in his people’s associative partnerships. He was born and raised in the Lorenzo Pilquiman community from Miquihue, in the city of Tirua in 1969. He has been living in the Araucanía región for the last 20 años with his wife and their children.
He went to primary school in the countryside and graduated high school from the Liceo Científico Humanista in Cañete, in the Biobio region, He studied to become a Forestry Technician in Inacap Temuco, he later graduated as a Hazard Prevention Expert at instituto Andrés Bello in Temuco in 2008. He is still an active member of the Lorenzo Piquiman community, close to Lleu Lleu lake, in his hometown of Tirúa. Because of this close link to his roots, Reinao has always been trying to imagine a way to get Mapuche people out of poverty.
He worked for 18 years for Forestal Mininco S.A., reaching an area from Temuco to Valdivia where he always kept a very close contact with the country and its people. Thanks to his mediating and conciliatory skills, Forestal Mininco sent him to the conflict zone in the Cholchol commune, with the mission of improving the relationships with the neighbouring communities of Las Praderas country estate, owned by Forestal Mininco. This experience helped him establish relations with the area’s communal land owners by remembering his roots and traditions. This is when he began to learn about the origin of the conflict and realize his company’s role with his patrimony in Mapuche territory. As a conciliatory agent, he used his skills to start a change in the relationship between the communities and the Forestry Company.
After constantly dealing with the neighboring communities, he began to learn about their needs, aspirations and dreams, and making them more and more his own. He also began to question the social and support roles of the Forestry Companies.
This way, he gradually started the Productive Proyect of Rewe Cooperative (“Proyecto Productivo de Cooperativa Rewe”) with a small number of communal land owners from Cholchol commune. That number has grown to include more than 142 members from more than 8 communities from the Biobio and La Araucanía regions. This proyect was based on ancestral knowledge, respecting Mapuche’s terms and their World View and including nuances that had been ignored before in order to develop economic activity. Jorge Reinao Necuñir has presided over The Rewe Cooperative since its very beginning.
The Mapuche Chamber of Commerce of Araucanía (Cámara de Comercio Mapuche Araucanía) is another Mapuche organization that was created focused on economic development and looking for commercial partnerships. It helps us use spaces where the Mapuche people were not involved in, and start to reclaim ancerstral commercial issues. The Mapuche people used to have great wealth, but today, they are economically and culturally poor, partly because of welfare policies that harm the social harmony of our communities as well as our self esteem, without any political or economical participation, nor any respect for the Mapuche culture.