A total of 318 archaeological sites were destroyed between 2009 and 2015, according to damage reports from the Council of National Monuments.
Archaeologists and Indigenous people are banding together to protest the return of the Dakar Rally to Chile in 2019, after a three-year hiatus, which they warn would be "disastrous for Indigenous communities and their archaeological heritage."
"No developed country would accept it in its territory since, as the history of this rally shows, it has only been viable in countries with weakened states and that can be easily managed by the private interests of foreign private companies, as is the case of the French company ASO in charge of this rally," said Gonzalo Pimentel, president of the Desierto de Atacama Foundation.
The group of protesters recalled numerous occasions during which Indigenous lands have been torn to shreds by the competing racers.
A total of 318 archaeological sites were destroyed between 2009 and 2015, according to damage reports from the Council of National Monuments (CMN).
To date, not a single conviction has been secured despite numerous appeals made to the Supreme Court by archaeologists and Indigenous rights organizations.
All requests were ultimately rejected, but Senator Guido Girardi has announced plans to file lawsuits against those responsible for the events.
"I think that the Dakar is totally incompatible with Chile; it would be a shame to promote an activity such as this," Girardi said.
"The fact that it is called 'Dakar,' an exogenous and foreign name, an event in the Atacama desert, is an attack on the dignity of Chileans, who care so much about sovereignty and are so nationalistic that they should know that sovereignty has to do with caring for the country and its heritage."
In an interview with local media, ASO director Etienne Lavigne begged to differ, saying that her company felt Chile was an integral part of the Dakar Rally's history.
She went on to offer to Chile the opportunity to host the extreme sports event in 2019, despite the "sensitive aspects" highlighted by various protest groups.
Human-rights groups have criticized the annual event for the amount of waste left behind by spectators, the destruction of ancestral sites, and the US$38 million paid to French event organizers ASO and competitors.
Additional complaints have been lodged by Indigenous groups for ASO's failure to consult native people when creating the race routes, which vary yearly, as well as the potential damage to historical monuments.
"We are aware that 200 sites have been affected by the rally; some evaluation studies have been made that hold organizers, athletes and spectators responsible for the damage to the archaeological sites with no answers," said Simon Urbina, vice-president of the Chilean Society of Archeology.
"There should be greater caution: not only for the heritage, but for the relations with the local communities, which we do not know if they agree with this activity due to the incorrect delimitation of the route."
For the third consecutive year, the Dakar Rally will not be held in Chile in 2018 after a disagreement over economic differences between the ASO and the Ministry of Sports caused the event to be canceled.