The cultural disaster suffered by the Pewenche or Pehuenche people in Chile due to the government backed up translation hydroelectric project, Ralco. Modelo Ralco, video-installation by Leonardo Ortega, featuring interviews with Nicolasa Quintremán Calpán, Pewenche woman who fought against the project to protect her lands and her culture for 12 years and after the dam was built, died drowned in its waters when she fell in while doing a walk in the area.
In Wallmapu, vast and ancient Mapuche country, up in the highlands of Los Andes, at the Bio-Bio River Valley, south of Chile in South America, where the Mapuche-Pewenche People lived for thousands of years, ENDESA-Spain (formerly our National Enterprise of Electrical Energy in Chile, now a transnational corporation), built a series of dams, being the Ralco project, the most conflictive since 1989 until 2003. This video is part of the video installation Model Ralco, "The Ralco Model", presented by Leonardo Ortega in Galería Metropolitana, Santiago, Chile, in 2002, which interviews document the diversity of points of view among the Pewenches themselves, contrasting the visions of Nicolasa Quintremán, symbol of the resistance against the dam construction, deeply rooted in her traditions and religion, and Ricardo Gallina, community leader who believes in the concepts of development and progress the Chilean government argued to support the project.
ENDESA-Spain, using the strategy of waiting and to pretend to yield, achieved finally to take out Nicolasa and the rest of the families from the Pewenche homelands through the offering of monetary compensations and other benefits. The cultural debacle for the Pewenches, important branch of the Mapuche nation, were disastrous.