Declaration of Perpetual Memory

Declaration of Perpetual Memory

Declaration of Perpetual Memory

Agreat debate has opened up on the absence of History as a subject within the required curriculum for the new program of studies for the 3rd and 4th secondary levels, as recently announced by the Chilean National Council for Education.  It is understood that Memory and History are central to the human condition. The task of the historian is to teach the rescue of events and the intentions held by those who lived a certain event, making them understandable for the present.  Memory is our own attempt to confer significance to that which occurred and, thus, understand the past.   We have here a Declaration of Perpetual Memory which was registered on May 27 of this year by two witnesses present at the emblematic cession of the land for the construction of the first hotel on Easter Island.  The objective of this act was to offer historical information that seems to have not been registered in the collective memory.

For years, the disagreement between the owners of the Hotel Hanga Roa and the descendents of the family of Ricardo Hito-Tepihi and Verónica Atamu-Pakomio has been making its way through the Chilean courts. It is sufficient to see the black flags and the unfriendly posters, placed by the descendents of the Hito-Atamu family which claim ownership of the property, in front of the current hotel. The accusations are based on the native consideration that the cession was not really that, but was only a concession; that Verónica Atamu-Pakomio did not know how to read or write in Spanish and, therefore, did not understand what she was signing; that the land belongs to the Rapanui people and cannot be sold to persons not belonging to the ethnic group; and so on.

[bsa_pro_ad_space id=3]
The opinion of some of the Rapanui koros (elders) is that this is a problem with the Government of Chile, since the land was passed to the Chilean Government Corporation for Development and Production (CORFO) in 1968 with the intention of building a hotel, at a time when the Island was already under civil administration. Until that time, HONSA had attended to a newly-developing flow of tourists with a tent hotel in a nearby plot. Several years later, CORFO, through its affiliate HONSA Hotels, sold the hotel to its administrator, Hugo Salas, a Chilean. The aggravating issue is that the sale occurred following the promulgation of Law N°2885 in 1979, which does not allow the sale of land to those who are not of the Rapanui ethnic group, except in specific exceptions.
Considering these historical acts from some time ago, the present claims by the Hito–Atamu family of the Hitorangi clan and the inaction of the governmental authorities, the last two living witnesses to the historical moment of the cession of the property to CORFO, Alfredo Tuki-Paté and Felipe Pakarati-Tuki, decided to make a legal statement at the Notary of Isla de Pascua.  Both offered the following declaration of perpetual memory to leave an account of that which actually occurred in the past.  At the time, the first of the declarants held the position of Secretary to the Departmental Government and the latter was the Secretary of the Municipality of Isla de Pascua. The declaration says as follows:
[bsa_pro_ad_space id=2]
In mid-1967, the representative of the governmental office CORFO, Victor de la Barra-Haebig, was received in a formal audience by the Island Governor, Enrique Rogers-Sotomayor, to whom he offered the proposal to build a hotel on the Island and, for which, they would need to find a plot of land.  The Governor responded that he did not dispose of land for such use and that he would pass the proposal to the Mayor, Miguel Teao-Riroroko.  He did and the Mayor offered to seek a solution and held a meeting with the Aldermen to present this project to their consideration.

Shortly thereafter, a meeting of the City Council was held with the presence of the Aldermen: Florencia Atan-Hotu, Policarpo Icka-Paoa, Lázaro Hotus-Ika, Jermán Hotus-Chávez, Ricardo Tuki-Hereveri and Exequiel Tuki-Make. As a special guest, seated behind the same desk as the mayor, was his brother-in-law, Ricardo Hito-Tepihe. The Mayor began the session in the Rapanui language to explain the request from CORFO and the benefits offered to the Hito-Atamu family in exchange for their plot of land at Apina Nui for the construction of a hotel. The benefit was to be a solid dwelling, a type of house that was known to the declarants.  Also recognized, at the time, was the precarious situation in which the Hito-Atamu family was living. Their house was a pae-pae (shack) built of totora reeds with toroko (tall grass) and leaves of maika (banana).

Once the details were known by the Aldermen, and given the approval and acceptance that Ricardo Hito-Tepihi registered in their presence, the Aldermen got to their feet and applauded the acceptance of the offer from CORFO to exchange the plot of land in the sector of Apina Nui to build a hotel.  The most enthusiastic was the Alderwoman Florencia Atan-Hotus, niece of Verónica Atamu-Pakomio, wife of Ricardo Hito-Tepihe.
The act of cession was ratified in 1970 by the presence of Verónica Atamu-Pakomio, by then-widow of Ricardo Hito-Tepihe, and her oldest son Isidro Hito-Atan as witness, in the office of Lands and Colonization in front of the director, Pedro Villagra-Aguilar.  Both of them verified the approval, acceptance and decision previously taken by her late husband, Ricardo Hito-Tepihi, with the Mayor and Aldermen of the Municipality of Isla de Pascua in that time.

The Hito–Atamu family, in addition to the construction of a solid house on the part of CORFO, the authorities and the Office of Lands and Colonization, received in compensation a plot of 10 hectares (nearly 25 acres) in the sector of Orito. On this same plot today are the houses of the children, grandchildren and other heirs of the Hito–Atamu couple.

Signed by: Felipe Pakarati-Tuki (79), ex-Municipal Secretary of Isla de Pascua and Alfredo Tuki-Paté (75), ex-Secretary of Government of Isla de Pascua.

La HONSA ofreciendo alojamiento en Carpas / The HONSA offering accommodation in tents

[bsa_pro_ad_space id=1]

Featured Reports:

Interview with Kazuhisa Shibuya

Interview with Kazuhisa Shibuya

Ambassador of Japan in Chile “My primary goal is to demonstrate that the Japanese people are with you.”Mayor Pedro Edmunds Paoa and Japanese Ambassador Kazuhisa Shibuya inaugurated the Comprehensive Care Center in Rapa Nui. The center, funded by the Japanese...

The details of the next Tāpati after the Covid 19

The details of the next Tāpati after the Covid 19

Te tātou 'ōro'a he Tāpati Rapa Nui 2023Mai te toru ki te ho'e 'ahuru mā ho'e mahana o Hetu'u PūThe details of  the next Tāpati 2023 after the Covid 19By Camila Sandoval Photos by I. Municipalidad de Isla de PascuaThis celebration, which values the cultural heritage of...

Rapa Nui – The Mystery Lives

Rapa Nui – The Mystery Lives

Rapa Nui, the land of mystery and living history, where you can experience the natural and cultural wealth in one of the most beautiful and intriguing places on our planet.

About The Author

Leave a reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *