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Indigenous Rights in Chile: National Identity and Majority Group Support for Multicultural Policies



We examine support for policies affecting indigenous ethnic minorities in Chile. Specifically, we examine the role of national group definitions that include the largest indigenous group—the Mapuche—in different ways. Based on questionnaire data from nonindigenous Chilean students (N = 338), we empirically distinguish iconic inclusion, whereby the Mapuche are seen as an important part of Chile's history and identity on the one hand, from egalitarian inclusion, which represents the Mapuche as citizens of equal importance to the nonindigenous majority on the other. Both forms of inclusion positively predict support for indigenous rights, independent of participants' political affiliation, strength of national identification, and social distance. A second study (N = 277) replicates this finding whilst controlling for right-wing authoritarianism, social dominance orientation, blind patriotism, and constructive patriotism. It also finds iconic inclusion to be predictive of a pro-Mapuche position regarding the unrest over the issue of ancestral land in 2009. We conclude that understanding how national identity affects attitudes about minority rights necessitates appreciating the importance of particular meanings of nationality, and not only the strength of identification.