Atonia was born and raised in Asunción as were her parents and grandparents. She witnessed first hand, conflicts between pride in Huarpe identity and fear of identifying and facing more discrimination from the government. At a meeting with the government, she spoke her reality and was met with anger. Unapologetic and strong, she challenged the idea that she should lie about her truth.
Huarpe was often used as an insult implying that someone was of a lower class because they are indigenous; many people spoke of this reality and Antonia reiterated it, emphasizing that all indigenous people face discrimination in Argentina, not just the Huarpe community. On the topic of water, Antonia echoed what many others had alluded to, that the drying of the river was a total loss severely affecting food and livelihood of the community.
“Antes no nos reconocíamos como Huarpes, porque había mucho miedo, mucha persecución. Uno nunca decía que era Huarpe, incluso los antepasados nos decían que no digamos que éramos Huarpes. Es más hoy, a veces se instala que si sos Huarpe sos distinto”
“Before we did not identify ourselves as Huarpe because there was a lot of fear and persecution. One would never say they were Huarpe, even ancestors told us not to say that we were Huarpe. Furthermore, today it is thought that if you are Huarpe, you are different.”