This article traces pivotal moments in the history of Indigenous participation in social research as “objects” of study, informants, collaborators and researchers. It proposes that these racial and political hierarchies have been forged by colonization. Specific histories reveal the ways these links have developed over time. The Mapuche peoples’ experience with the fi eld of history and knowledge production is understood here as both a political position and a site of enunciation that contributes to understanding these relations. Consequently, I argue that any challenge, weakening or dismantling of colonial relations moves us towards a (self-)criticism of hegemonic ideological and epistemological formations and the racial and political hierarchies that structure these relations.