Millaray Huichalaf Pradines

The machi Millaray Huichalaf has been leading the defense of the Pilmailquén River for more than 13 years. Her activist work has led to imprisonment and the persecution of various members of her family and her community.

The machi is a defender of water and Mapuche ancestral medicine. This is an ancestral authority — according to the Mapuche worldview, the ancestral authorities arrive when there is a need to recover a lost balance. The machi, together with a group of young people from different Mapuche communities, collects lawen and teaches how to prepare medicine. As more and more people do not find solutions in hospitals or pharmaceuticals, they come to this knowledge.

After being guided by her ancestors and the spirits of nature, she began to speak out about the risks that the hydroelectric plant would bring to the river and biodiversity, for the Mapuche social fabric and ancestral customs. This led to a fierce smear campaign against her, legally and in the media.
The machi is consulted by intercultural facilitators from Puyehue, in the Entre Lagos Region, and from the Unión area, in the Los Ríos Region. She is also a facilitator at the Osorno base hospital and the Valdivia base hospital. Due to public policies regarding intercultural health, she is able to attend deliveries and visit babies, children, and pregnant women.


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