MARCH 19, 1997


The Santiago Estate, located in the “yungas” (forest lands) in Argentina, was part of the traditional lands where the Qulla nation was settled by the Spanish after 1540.  The Spanish eventually re-took Santiago Estate from the Qulla.  The Qulla, for generations, have fought to recover the Santiago Estate.  In 1948, after indigenous peoples marched to Buenos Aires to claim their rights, Santiago Estate, by law, was expropriated for the Qulla.  However, the sugar cane company, San Martin del Tabacal, refused to relinquish the land.  In 1950, Spanish company Manero-Quiroc bought the estate for forest exploitation.  In 1993, the estate was again expropriated, but the landowners refused to cede it.  In August 1996, however, during the Pachamama (Mother Earth) month, the Qulla occupied the road, obstructing the lorries carrying the trunks.  Initially, they were violently repressed by the police.  However, on this date, they officially took legal possesion of Santiago Estate.  

Source:  Festo Cahusque, “Present situation of the indigenous peoples in Salta, Argentina,” 1997, reposted in “Argentina: the struggle of the Kolla people,” World Rainforest Movement, 10/5/1997.   Retrieved 1/15/2020,
Photo:  Alex Proimos, 9/21/2009.  Permissive Use. 

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