Chile: Easter Islands, silent genocide

Easter Island, one of the most magnificent tourist spots in the Pacific Ocean, is mainly known for its moais (Polynesian stone sculptures). If you stay there for a week you’ll enjoy it for sure: archeological sightseeing tours, pink sand beaches, exciting dances.

But if you get the chance to know the Rapa Nui people, the originary inhabitants, you’ll find out that there is a well-hidden story.

“Hanga Roa, the only town on the island, used to be the ghetto were I was born”, will probably be the first thing they tell you. As a matter of fact, from 1722 the islanders where prey to foreign invasions, evangelization, slavery, leprosy and torture. The history of Easter Island is one of the darkest, and least known chapters of the colonial era – and it remains largely untold.

Having been around 12.000 Rapa Nui, in 1888 only 111 were still alive. That’s the year in which Easter Island’s King Atamu Tekena agreed to sign a treaty with the Chilean State, who after one and a half centuries of exploitation and genocide finally annexed the island.

The Chilean State committed to protect the indigenous people and their land property. But shortly after, the survivors where banished from their ancestral lands, and locked up in the newly founded Hanga Roa ghetto, and the whole island was rented to the “Williamson Balfour” sheep company.

Ever since the Rapa Nui people have been experiencing a silent annihilation, until recently! In 2010 a generalized revolution of the Rapa Nui clans began to develop. The clans were brutally oppressed by the police (well trained during 18 years under Pinochet), many leaders physically mistreated and unlawfully imprisoned.

But they have found new ways of resisting. The leaders of the famous Hitorangi clan are planning to take the Chilean State to the Interamerican Court of Human Rights.

Within this context the documentary film “Nua Rapa Nui”, directed by the Chilean-Belgian director, Isabel Burr Raty, unveils the unknown history of the Rapa Nui people, immersed in the most revolutionary family of the Island, the Hitorangi Clan. The film follows the clans struggle to get their land back, which lies under the 5 star “Hanga Roa Hotel”. And they are willing to risk their life for it!

Find out more about the content and context of this film at:

Support its completion through the crowdfunding campaign at:


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Date: 08/08/2013




Culture and Tradition
Indigenous Peoples
Land Rights

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