Mapuche
Overview
 
The Mapuche are a group of indigenous
Indigenous peoples of the Americas
The indigenous peoples of the Americas are the pre-Columbian inhabitants of North and South America, their descendants and other ethnic groups who are identified with those peoples. Indigenous peoples are known in Canada as Aboriginal peoples, and in the United States as Native Americans...

 inhabitants of south-central Chile
Chile
Chile ,officially the Republic of Chile , is a country in South America occupying a long, narrow coastal strip between the Andes mountains to the east and the Pacific Ocean to the west. It borders Peru to the north, Bolivia to the northeast, Argentina to the east, and the Drake Passage in the far...

 and southwestern Argentina
Argentina
Argentina , officially the Argentine Republic , is the second largest country in South America by land area, after Brazil. It is constituted as a federation of 23 provinces and an autonomous city, Buenos Aires...

. They constitute a wide-ranging ethnicity composed of various groups who shared a common social, religious and economic structure, as well as a common linguistic heritage. Their influence extended between the Aconcagua River
Aconcagua River
For other uses, see Aconcagua .The Aconcagua River is a river in Chile that rises from the joint of two minor tributary rivers at above sea level in the Andes, Juncal river from the east and Blanco river from the south east...

 and Chiloé Archipelago
Chiloé Archipelago
Chiloé Archipelago consists of several islands lying off the coast of Chile. It is separated from mainland Chile by Chacao Channel in the north, the Sea of Chiloé in the east and Gulf of Corcovado to the southeast. All of the archipelago except Desertores Islands, which are part of Palena...

 and later eastward to the Argentine pampa
Pampa
The Pampas are the fertile South American lowlands, covering more than , that include the Argentine provinces of Buenos Aires, La Pampa, Santa Fe, Entre Ríos and Córdoba, most of Uruguay, and the southernmost Brazilian State, Rio Grande do Sul...

. The Mapuche make up about 4% of the Chilean population, and are particularly concentrated in Araucanía Region
Araucanía Region
The IX Araucanía Region is one of Chile's 15 first order administrative divisions and comprises two provinces: Malleco in the north and Cautín in the south....

 and due to emigration in Santiago
Santiago, Chile
Santiago , also known as Santiago de Chile, is the capital and largest city of Chile, and the center of its largest conurbation . It is located in the country's central valley, at an elevation of above mean sea level...

.

The term Mapuche can refer to the whole group of Picunche
Picunche
The Picunche , also referred to as picones by the Spanish, were a mapudungun speaking Chilean people living to the north of the Mapuches or Araucanians and south of the Choapa River and the Diaguitas...

s (people of the north), Huilliche
Huilliche
The Huilliche is an ethnic group of Chile, belonging to the Mapuche culture. They live in mountain valleys in an area south of Toltén River and on Chiloé Archipelago...

s (people of the South) and Moluche or Nguluche
Moluche
Moluche or Nguluche is a dialect of the Mapuche language Mapudungun that is also the ethnic description of the Mapuche peoples speaking that language. At the beginning of the Conquest of Chile by the Spanish Empire the Moluche lived in what came to be known as Araucanía...

 from Araucanía, or exclusively to the Moluche or Nguluche from Araucanía.
Encyclopedia
The Mapuche are a group of indigenous
Indigenous peoples of the Americas
The indigenous peoples of the Americas are the pre-Columbian inhabitants of North and South America, their descendants and other ethnic groups who are identified with those peoples. Indigenous peoples are known in Canada as Aboriginal peoples, and in the United States as Native Americans...

 inhabitants of south-central Chile
Chile
Chile ,officially the Republic of Chile , is a country in South America occupying a long, narrow coastal strip between the Andes mountains to the east and the Pacific Ocean to the west. It borders Peru to the north, Bolivia to the northeast, Argentina to the east, and the Drake Passage in the far...

 and southwestern Argentina
Argentina
Argentina , officially the Argentine Republic , is the second largest country in South America by land area, after Brazil. It is constituted as a federation of 23 provinces and an autonomous city, Buenos Aires...

. They constitute a wide-ranging ethnicity composed of various groups who shared a common social, religious and economic structure, as well as a common linguistic heritage. Their influence extended between the Aconcagua River
Aconcagua River
For other uses, see Aconcagua .The Aconcagua River is a river in Chile that rises from the joint of two minor tributary rivers at above sea level in the Andes, Juncal river from the east and Blanco river from the south east...

 and Chiloé Archipelago
Chiloé Archipelago
Chiloé Archipelago consists of several islands lying off the coast of Chile. It is separated from mainland Chile by Chacao Channel in the north, the Sea of Chiloé in the east and Gulf of Corcovado to the southeast. All of the archipelago except Desertores Islands, which are part of Palena...

 and later eastward to the Argentine pampa
Pampa
The Pampas are the fertile South American lowlands, covering more than , that include the Argentine provinces of Buenos Aires, La Pampa, Santa Fe, Entre Ríos and Córdoba, most of Uruguay, and the southernmost Brazilian State, Rio Grande do Sul...

. The Mapuche make up about 4% of the Chilean population, and are particularly concentrated in Araucanía Region
Araucanía Region
The IX Araucanía Region is one of Chile's 15 first order administrative divisions and comprises two provinces: Malleco in the north and Cautín in the south....

 and due to emigration in Santiago
Santiago, Chile
Santiago , also known as Santiago de Chile, is the capital and largest city of Chile, and the center of its largest conurbation . It is located in the country's central valley, at an elevation of above mean sea level...

.

The term Mapuche can refer to the whole group of Picunche
Picunche
The Picunche , also referred to as picones by the Spanish, were a mapudungun speaking Chilean people living to the north of the Mapuches or Araucanians and south of the Choapa River and the Diaguitas...

s (people of the north), Huilliche
Huilliche
The Huilliche is an ethnic group of Chile, belonging to the Mapuche culture. They live in mountain valleys in an area south of Toltén River and on Chiloé Archipelago...

s (people of the South) and Moluche or Nguluche
Moluche
Moluche or Nguluche is a dialect of the Mapuche language Mapudungun that is also the ethnic description of the Mapuche peoples speaking that language. At the beginning of the Conquest of Chile by the Spanish Empire the Moluche lived in what came to be known as Araucanía...

 from Araucanía, or exclusively to the Moluche or Nguluche from Araucanía. The Mapuche traditional economy is based on agriculture; their traditional social organisation consists of extended families, under the direction of a "lonko
Lonco
A lonco or lonko is a tribal chief of the Mapuches. These were often Ulmen, the wealthier men in the lof. In wartime loncos of the various local rehue or the larger aillarehue would gather in a koyag or parliament and would elect a toqui to lead the warriors in battle...

" or chief, although in times of war they would unite in larger groupings and elect a toqui
Toqui
Toqui is a title conferred by the Mapuche to those who are chosen as their leaders during times of war. The toqui is chosen in an assembly or parliament of the chieftains of the various clans or confederation of clans , allied during the war in question...

 (from Mapudungun toki "axe, axe-bearer") to lead them.

The Araucanian Mapuche inhabited at time of Spanish arrival
Conquest of Chile
The Conquest of Chile is a period in Chilean historiography that starts with the arrival of Pedro de Valdivia to Chile in 1541 and ends with the death of Martín García Óñez de Loyola, in the Battle of Curalaba in 1598 or alternatively with the Destruction of the Seven Cities. This was the period...

 the valleys between the Itata
Itata River
The Itata River flows in the Bío-Bío Region, southern Chile.Until the Conquest of Chile the Itata was the natural limit between the Mapuche, located to the south, and Picunche, to the north.-References:* . - External links :*...

 and Toltén
Toltén
Toltén is a Chilean commune located at the lower flows Toltén River at the southern coast of Cautín Province which is part of Araucanía Region...

 rivers, south of it as did the Huilliche and the Cuncos lived as far south as to Chiloé Archipelago
Chiloé Archipelago
Chiloé Archipelago consists of several islands lying off the coast of Chile. It is separated from mainland Chile by Chacao Channel in the north, the Sea of Chiloé in the east and Gulf of Corcovado to the southeast. All of the archipelago except Desertores Islands, which are part of Palena...

. In the 17th, 18th and 19th centuries, Mapuche groups migrated eastward into the Andes and pampas, fusing and establishing relationships with the Poya
Poya (tribe)
The Poyas were a subgroup of indigenous Tehuelche people living in the Andes of Llanquihue and Palena Province as well as on the southern shores of Nahuel Huapi Lake in present day Argentina...

s and Pehuenche
Pehuenche
Pehuenches are an indigenous people that are part of the Mapuche peoples and live in the Andes in south central Chile and Argentina. Their name derives from their habit of harvesting of piñones, the seeds of the Araucaria araucana or pehuén...

. At about the same time, ethnic groups of the pampa regions, the Puelche
Puelche
Puelche is the name that the Mapuche used to give the ethnic groups who inhabited the lands to the east of the Andes Mountains including the northern Tehuelches and Hets, these last ones were also known as the Pampas or Querandíes...

, Ranquel
Ranquel
The Ranquel are an indigenous tribe from the northern part of La Pampa Province, Argentina, in South America. They are part of the Mapuche, with Puelche origins, Pehuenche and also Patagones from the Günün-a-Küna group.-Name:...

es and northern Aonikenk, made contact with Mapuche groups. The Tehuelche adopted the Mapuche language and some of their culture in what came to be called Araucanization
Araucanization
The Araucanization of Patagonia was the process of expansion of Mapuche culture, influence and language from Araucanía into the Patagonic plains. Historians disagree in the time of the expansion but it would have occurred sometime between 1550 and 1850. Amerindian peoples such as the Puelches and...

.

Historically Mapuches were known as Araucanians (araucanos) by the Spanish colonizers of South America. However, this term is now mostly considered pejorative by some people. The Quechua
Quechua languages
Quechua is a Native South American language family and dialect cluster spoken primarily in the Andes of South America, derived from an original common ancestor language, Proto-Quechua. It is the most widely spoken language family of the indigenous peoples of the Americas, with a total of probably...

 word awqa "rebel, enemy", is probably not the root of araucano: the latter is more likely derived from the placename rag ko (Spanish Arauco
Arauco, Chile
Arauco is a city and commune in Chile, located in Arauco Province in the Biobio Region. The meaning of Arauco means Chalky Water in Mapudungun. The region was a Moluche aillarehue...

) "clayey water".

While some Mapuches mingled with Spanish during colonial times giving origin to a large group of mestizo
Mestizo
Mestizo is a term traditionally used in Latin America, Philippines and Spain for people of mixed European and Native American heritage or descent...

s in Chile Mapuche society in Araucanía and Patagonia remained independent until the Chilean Occupation of Araucanía and the Argentine Conquest of the Desert
Conquest of the Desert
The Conquest of the Desert was a military campaign directed mainly by General Julio Argentino Roca in the 1870s, which established Argentine dominance over Patagonia, which was inhabited by indigenous peoples...

 in late 19th century. Since then Mapuches have become subjects and then nationals and citizens of the respective states. Today many Mapuche and Mapuche communities are engaged in the so-called Mapuche conflict
Mapuche conflict
Mapuche conflict is a collective name for the revival and reorganization of Mapuche communities for greater autonomy, recognition of rights and the recovery of land since the Chilean transition to democracy. The Mapuche conflict is a phenomenon mainly from Chile, but also from neighboring areas of...

 over land and indigenous rights both in Argentina and in Chile.

Pre-Hispanic times

The origin of the Mapuche is not clear. The Mapuche language, Mapudungun
Mapudungun
The Mapuche language, Mapudungun is a language isolate spoken in south-central Chile and west central Argentina by the Mapuche people. It is also spelled Mapuzugun and sometimes called Mapudungu or Araucanian...

, has been classified by some authorities as being related to the Penutian languages
Penutian languages
Penutian is a proposed grouping of language families that includes many Native American languages of western North America, predominantly spoken at one time in Washington, Oregon, and California. The existence of a Penutian stock or phylum has been the subject of debate among specialists. Even the...

 of North America. Others group it among the Andean languages, and yet others postulate an Araucanian-Mayan
Maya civilization
The Maya is a Mesoamerican civilization, noted for the only known fully developed written language of the pre-Columbian Americas, as well as for its art, architecture, and mathematical and astronomical systems. Initially established during the Pre-Classic period The Maya is a Mesoamerican...

 relationship; Croese (1989, 1991) has advanced the hypothesis that it is related to Arawak
Arawakan languages
Macro-Arawakan is a proposed language family of South America and the Caribbean based on the Arawakan languages. Sometimes the proposal is called Arawakan, in which case the central family is called Maipurean....

. Reports in 2007 of DNA
DNA
Deoxyribonucleic acid is a nucleic acid that contains the genetic instructions used in the development and functioning of all known living organisms . The DNA segments that carry this genetic information are called genes, but other DNA sequences have structural purposes, or are involved in...

 analysis of animal remains has suggested that Mapuche pre-Columbian Araucana
Araucana
The Araucana, also known in the USA as a South American Rumpless, is a breed of chicken originating in Chile. The Araucana is often confused with other fowl, especially the Ameraucana and Easter Egger chickens, but has several unusual characteristics which distinguish it. They lay blue eggs, have...

 chicken came from Polynesia
Polynesia
Polynesia is a subregion of Oceania, made up of over 1,000 islands scattered over the central and southern Pacific Ocean. The indigenous people who inhabit the islands of Polynesia are termed Polynesians and they share many similar traits including language, culture and beliefs...

, which suggests contact between the Mapuche and Polynesia. More recent research strongly disputes this claim, suggesting no contact between the Mapuche and Polynesia.

The Mapuche successfully resisted many attempts by the Inca Empire
Inca Empire
The Inca Empire, or Inka Empire , was the largest empire in pre-Columbian America. The administrative, political and military center of the empire was located in Cusco in modern-day Peru. The Inca civilization arose from the highlands of Peru sometime in the early 13th century...

 to subjugate them, despite their lack of state organization
State (polity)
A state is an organized political community, living under a government. States may be sovereign and may enjoy a monopoly on the legal initiation of force and are not dependent on, or subject to any other power or state. Many states are federated states which participate in a federal union...

. They fought against the Sapa Inca, Tupac Yupanqui, and his army. The result of the bloody three-day confrontation known as the Battle of the Maule
Battle of the Maule
The Battle of the Maule was fought between the Mapuche people and the Inca Empire in what is now Chile. The three-day battle, which is generally believed to have occurred in the reign of Tupac Inca Yupanqui , marked the end of the Incas' southward expansion.In a six-year campaign with an army that...

 was that the Inca conquest of the territories of Chile ended at the Maule river
Maule river
The Maule river is one of the most important rivers of Chile and is inextricably linked to this country's pre-Hispanic times, the country's conquest, colonial period, wars of Independence, modern history, agriculture , culture , religion, economy and politics...

. They fell back to the north behind the Rapel
Rapel River
Rapel River is a river of Chile located in the O'Higgins Region. It begins at the confluence of the rivers Cachapoal and Tinguiririca in the area known as La Junta...

 and Cachapoal River
Cachapoal River
Cachapoal River is tibutary river of the Rapel River in Chile located in the O'Higgins Region. The river gives its name to the Cachapoal Province.- Source :*...

s, where they established a fortified border guarded by fortresses such as the Pucará de La Compañía and the Pucará del Cerro La Muralla
Pucara del Cerro La Muralla
Pucará de Cerro La Muralla is a Pucara , probably Inca on a strategic mountain top, five km to the south of San Vicente de Tagua Tagua, to the south side of the dry lagoon . This is southernmost pucará of the Inca Empire.- History :The Inca invasion, having advanced beyond the Choapa river, came...

.

War of Arauco

Although the Spanish subjugated the Picunche in the Conquest of Chile
Conquest of Chile
The Conquest of Chile is a period in Chilean historiography that starts with the arrival of Pedro de Valdivia to Chile in 1541 and ends with the death of Martín García Óñez de Loyola, in the Battle of Curalaba in 1598 or alternatively with the Destruction of the Seven Cities. This was the period...

, the Moluche of the area which the Spanish called Araucanía fought against the invaders for over 300 years. The Mapuche repelled the Spanish after their initial conquests in the late 16th century so effectively that there were areas to which Europeans did not return until late in the 19th century. One of the main geographical boundaries was the Bío-Bío River
Bío-Bío River
The Biobío River is the second largest river in Chile. It originates from Icalma and Galletué lakes in the Andes and flows 380 km to the Gulf of Arauco on the Pacific Ocean....

, which the Mapuche used as a natural barrier to Spanish and Chilean incursion. The 300 years were not uniformly a period of hostility, and there was often substantial trade
Trade
Trade is the transfer of ownership of goods and services from one person or entity to another. Trade is sometimes loosely called commerce or financial transaction or barter. A network that allows trade is called a market. The original form of trade was barter, the direct exchange of goods and...

 and interchange between Mapuche and Spaniards or Chileans. The long Mapuche resistance has become primarily known as the War of Arauco
Arauco War
The Arauco War was a conflict between colonial Spaniards and the Mapuche people in what is now the Araucanía and Biobío regions of modern Chile...

. Its early phase was immortalized in Alonso de Ercilla
Alonso de Ercilla
Alonso de Ercilla y Zúñiga was a Spanish nobleman, soldier and epic poet from the Basque Country. While in Chile he fought against the Araucanians, and there he began the epic poem La Araucana, considered the greatest Spanish historical poem. This heroic work in 37 cantos is divided into three...

's epic poem La Araucana
La Araucana
La Araucana is an epic poem in Spanish about the Spanish conquest of Chile, by Alonso de Ercilla; it is also known in English as The Araucaniad...

.

From the mid-17th century, the Mapuches and the governors of Chile made a series of treaties in order to end the hostilities. By the late eighteenth century, many Mapuche loncos had accepted the de jure
De jure
De jure is an expression that means "concerning law", as contrasted with de facto, which means "concerning fact".De jure = 'Legally', De facto = 'In fact'....

sovereignty of the Spanish king while operating with de facto
De facto
De facto is a Latin expression that means "concerning fact." In law, it often means "in practice but not necessarily ordained by law" or "in practice or actuality, but not officially established." It is commonly used in contrast to de jure when referring to matters of law, governance, or...

independence.

When Chile revolted from the Spanish crown during the Chilean War of Independence, some Mapuche chiefs sided with the royalists of Vicente Benavides
Vicente Benavides
Vicente Benavides Llanos was a Chilean soldier who fought in the Chilean War of Independence. He initially sided with the patriots but changed sides later to side with the royalists. He then led the resistance during the so called Guerra a muerte...

 in the Guerra a muerte
Guerra a muerte
Guerra a muerte is a term coined by Benjamín Vicuña Mackenna used in Chilean historiography to describe the irregular, no-quarter warfare that broke out from 1819 to 1821 during the Chilean War of Independence...

(war to death). The Spanish depended on the Mapuches as they had lost control of all cities and ports north of Valdivia
Valdivia, Chile
Valdivia is a city and commune in southern Chile administered by the Municipality of Valdivia. The city is named after its founder Pedro de Valdivia and is located at the confluence of the Calle-Calle, Valdivia and Cau-Cau Rivers, approximately east of the coastal towns of Corral and Niebla...

. The Mapuches valued the treaties made with the Spanish authorities; however, many regarded the war with indifference and took advantage of both sides. After Chile's independence from Spain, the Mapuche coexisted and traded with their neighbors, who prudently remained north of the Bío-Bío River, although clashes frequently occurred.

Occupation of the Araucanía

Chilean population pressures increased on the Mapuche borders, and by the 1880s Chile extended both to the north and south of the Mapuche heartlands. As a result of its preparation for and victory in the War of the Pacific
War of the Pacific
The War of the Pacific took place in western South America from 1879 through 1883. Chile fought against Bolivia and Peru. Despite cooperation among the three nations in the war against Spain, disputes soon arose over the mineral-rich Peruvian provinces of Tarapaca, Tacna, and Arica, and the...

 against Bolivia
Bolivia
Bolivia officially known as Plurinational State of Bolivia , is a landlocked country in central South America. It is the poorest country in South America...

 and Peru
Peru
Peru , officially the Republic of Peru , is a country in western South America. It is bordered on the north by Ecuador and Colombia, on the east by Brazil, on the southeast by Bolivia, on the south by Chile, and on the west by the Pacific Ocean....

, Chile had a large standing army and relatively modern arsenal. Finally, in the mid- to late-1880s, partially on the pretext of crushing a French adventurer, Orelie-Antoine de Tounens, who had declared himself King of Araucania, Chile overwhelmed the Mapuche in the course of the so-called "pacification of the Araucanía".

Using a combination of force and diplomacy, Chile's government obliged some Mapuche leaders to sign a treaty agreeing to the absorption of the Araucanian territories into Chile. The disruption of war caused widespread disease
Disease
A disease is an abnormal condition affecting the body of an organism. It is often construed to be a medical condition associated with specific symptoms and signs. It may be caused by external factors, such as infectious disease, or it may be caused by internal dysfunctions, such as autoimmune...

 and starvation
Starvation
Starvation is a severe deficiency in caloric energy, nutrient and vitamin intake. It is the most extreme form of malnutrition. In humans, prolonged starvation can cause permanent organ damage and eventually, death...

 to many villages. It has been claimed that the Mapuche population dropped from a total of half a million to 25,000 within a generation. Noted historians of the period have argued that the latter figure is exaggeratedly low. In the post-conquest period, Chile interned a significant percentage of the Mapuche, and destroyed the Mapuche herding, agricultural and trading economies, while also looting Mapuche property (real and personal - including a large amount of silver jewelry to replenish the Chilean national coffers). The government created a system of reserves called reducciones
Indian Reductions
Reductions were settlements founded by the Spanish colonizers of the New World with the purpose of assimilating indigenous populations into European culture and religion.Already since the beginning of the Spanish presence in the Americas, the Crown had been concerned...

 along lines similar to North American reservation systems. Subsequent generations of Mapuche live in extreme poverty as a result of having been conquered and lost their traditional lands.

Recent history


Many Mapuche descendants now live across southern Chile and Argentina; some maintain their traditions and continue living from agriculture, but a majority have migrated to cities in search of better economic opportunities. Many are concentrated around Santiago
Santiago, Chile
Santiago , also known as Santiago de Chile, is the capital and largest city of Chile, and the center of its largest conurbation . It is located in the country's central valley, at an elevation of above mean sea level...

. Chile's Araucanía Region
Araucanía Region
The IX Araucanía Region is one of Chile's 15 first order administrative divisions and comprises two provinces: Malleco in the north and Cautín in the south....

, the former Araucanía, has a rural population that is 80% Mapuche; there are also substantial Mapuche populations in Los Lagos Region
Los Lagos Region
Los Lagos Region is one of Chile's 15 regions, which are first order administrative divisions, and comprises four provinces: Chiloé, Llanquihue, Osorno and Palena. The region contains the country's second largest island, Chiloé, and the second largest lake, Llanquihue.Its capital is Puerto Montt;...

, Bío-Bío Region
Bío-Bío Region
The VIII Biobío Region , one of the fifteen first-order administrative divisions in Chile, comprises four provinces: Arauco, Biobio, Concepción, and Ñuble.The capital of the Region is Concepción...

, and Maule Region
Maule Region
The VII Maule Region is one of Chile's 15 first order administrative divisions. Its capital is Talca. The region takes its name from the Maule River which, running westward from the Andes, bisects the region and spans a basin of about 20,600 km2...

.

In the 2002 Chilean census 604,349 people identified themselves as Mapuche, and of these the two regions with the largest numbers were Araucanía Region
Araucanía Region
The IX Araucanía Region is one of Chile's 15 first order administrative divisions and comprises two provinces: Malleco in the north and Cautín in the south....

 with 203,221 and Santiago Metropolitan Region
Santiago Metropolitan Region
Santiago Metropolitan Region or simply Metropolitan Region is one of Chile's 15 first order administrative divisions. It is the country's only landlocked administrative region and contains the nation's capital, Santiago...

 with 182,963 both surpassing the total Mapuche population as of 2004-2005 in Argentina.

In recent years, the Chilean government has tried to redress some of the inequities of the past. The Parliament passed, in 1993, Law n° 19 253 (Indigenous Law, or Ley indígena) which officially recognized the Mapuche people, and seven other ethnic minorities, as well as the Mapudungun language and culture. Mapundungun, which use was prohibited before, is now included in the curriculum of elementary schools around Temuco
Temuco
Temuco is a city and commune, capital of the Cautín Province and of the Araucanía Region in southern Chile. The name comes from the Mapudungun language, meaning "temu water"; "temu" is a tree used by Mapuches for medicinal purposes. The city is located 670 km south of Santiago...

.

Despite representing 4.6% of the Chilean population, few Mapuches have reached government positions. In 2006 among Chile's 38 senators and 120 deputies, only one identified as indigenous. The number is higher at municipal levels.

Furthermore, representatives from Mapuche organizations have joined the Unrepresented Nations and Peoples Organisation (UNPO), seeking recognition and protection for their cultural and land rights.

Modern conflict

Land disputes and violent confrontations continue in some Mapuche areas, particularly in the northern sections of the Araucanía region between and around Traiguén and Lumaco. In an effort to defuse tensions, the Commission for Historical Truth and New Treatments issued a report in 2003 calling for drastic changes in Chile's treatment of its indigenous people, more than 80 percent of whom are Mapuche. The recommendations included the formal recognition of political and "territorial" rights for indigenous peoples, as well as efforts to promote their cultural identity.

Though Japanese and Swiss interests are active in the economy of Araucanía (Mapudungun: "Ngulu Mapu"), both the main forestry companies are Chilean-owned. The firms have planted hundreds of thousands of acres with non-native species such as Monterey pine
Monterey Pine
The Monterey Pine, Pinus radiata, family Pinaceae, also known as the Insignis Pine or Radiata Pine is a species of pine native to the Central Coast of California....

, Douglas firs and eucalyptus
Eucalyptus
Eucalyptus is a diverse genus of flowering trees in the myrtle family, Myrtaceae. Members of the genus dominate the tree flora of Australia...

 trees, sometimes replacing native Valdivian forests, although such substitution and replacement is now forbidden.

Chile exports wood to the United States, almost all of which comes from this southern region, with an annual value of $600 million and rising. Forest Ethics, a conservation group, has led an international campaign for preservation, resulting in the Home Depot chain and other leading wood importers agreeing to revise their purchasing policies to "provide for the protection of native forests in Chile." Some Mapuche leaders want stronger protections for the forests.

In recent years, the delict
Delict
In civil law, a delict is an intentional or negligent act which gives rise to a legal obligation between parties even though there has been no contract between them. Due to the large number of civil law systems in the world, it is hard to state any generalities about the concept...

s committed by Mapuche activists have been prosecuted under counter-terrorism legislation originally introduced by the military dictatorship of Augusto Pinochet
Augusto Pinochet
Augusto José Ramón Pinochet Ugarte, more commonly known as Augusto Pinochet , was a Chilean army general and dictator who assumed power in a coup d'état on 11 September 1973...

. The law allows prosecutors to withhold evidence from the defense for up to six months and to conceal the identity of witnesses, who may give evidence in court behind screens. There are several violent activist groups, such as the Coordinadora Arauco Malleco, which utilize tactics including burning of structures and pastures, and death threats against people and their families. Protesters from Mapuche communities have used these tactics against multinational forestry corporations and private individuals. In 2010 the Mapuche launched a number of hunger strikes in attempts to effect change in the anti-terrorism legislation.

Culture

At the time of the arrival of Europeans the Mapuche were able to organize themselves to create a network of forts and complex defensive buildings, and also ceremonial constructions such as some mound
Mound
A mound is a general term for an artificial heaped pile of earth, gravel, sand, rocks, or debris. The most common use is in reference to natural earthen formation such as hills and mountains, particularly if they appear artificial. The term may also be applied to any rounded area of topographically...

s recently discovered near Purén. They quickly adopted iron
Iron
Iron is a chemical element with the symbol Fe and atomic number 26. It is a metal in the first transition series. It is the most common element forming the planet Earth as a whole, forming much of Earth's outer and inner core. It is the fourth most common element in the Earth's crust...

 metal-working (they already worked copper
Copper
Copper is a chemical element with the symbol Cu and atomic number 29. It is a ductile metal with very high thermal and electrical conductivity. Pure copper is soft and malleable; an exposed surface has a reddish-orange tarnish...

) and horseback-riding and the use of cavalry
Cavalry
Cavalry or horsemen were soldiers or warriors who fought mounted on horseback. Cavalry were historically the third oldest and the most mobile of the combat arms...

 in war from the Spaniards, along with the cultivation of wheat
Wheat
Wheat is a cereal grain, originally from the Levant region of the Near East, but now cultivated worldwide. In 2007 world production of wheat was 607 million tons, making it the third most-produced cereal after maize and rice...

 and sheep. In the long 300-year coexistence between the Spanish colonies and the relatively well-delineated autonomous Mapuche regions, the Mapuche also developed a strong tradition of trading with Spaniards and Chileans. It is this which lies at the heart of the Mapuche silver-working tradition, for it was from the large and widely-dispersed quantity of Spanish and Chilean silver coins that the Mapuche wrought their elaborate jewelry, head bands, etc.

Mapuche languages

Mapuche languages are spoken in Chile and to a smaller extent in Argentina. They have two living branches: Huilliche
Huillice language
The Huilliche language is an Araucanian language spoken by about 2,000 ethnic Huilliche people in Chile. It is spoken in an area south of the area inhabited by the Mapuche, in the nation's Los Lagos and Los Ríos regions; and mountain valleys, between the city of Valdivia and south toward Chiloé...

 and Mapudungun
Mapudungun
The Mapuche language, Mapudungun is a language isolate spoken in south-central Chile and west central Argentina by the Mapuche people. It is also spelled Mapuzugun and sometimes called Mapudungu or Araucanian...

. Although not genetically related, there is some discernible lexical influence from Quechua. It is estimated that only about 200,000 full-fluency speakers remain in Chile, and the language still receives only token support in the educational system. In recent years it has started to be taught in rural schools of Bío-Bío, Araucanía and Los Lagos Regions.

Mythology and beliefs

The main groups of deities and/or spirits in Mapuche mythology are the Pillan
Pillan
The Pillan is a powerful and respected male spirit in Mapuche mythology....

 and Wangulen (ancestral spirits), the Ngen
Ngen
In Mapuche mythology, Ngen are spirits of nature of the Mapuche beliefs. In Mapudungun, the word ngen means "owner".-Legend:The Ngen are those that manage, govern and arrange the different features of nature; but also those that nature takes care of and protects...

 (spirits of the nature) and the wekufe
Wekufe
The Wekufe or Huecuve is an important type of harmful spirit or demon in Mapuche mythology.-Legend:...

 (evil spirits). Ngenechen
Ngenechen
Ngenechen is one of the most important Ngen spirits within traditional mapuche religion; and is the most important deity in the present beliefs of the Mapuche people....

 and Antu
Antu (mapuche mythology)
Antu is the name that is designated in the Mapuche, the principal pillan spirit. Antü is the most powerful Pillan, who governs the others pillans. In the Mapuche mythology, Antu is the Sun, and is married with Kueyen a Wangulen spirit that represents the moon....

 are the main deities.

Central to Mapuche belief
Belief
Belief is the psychological state in which an individual holds a proposition or premise to be true.-Belief, knowledge and epistemology:The terms belief and knowledge are used differently in philosophy....

  is the role of the machi
Machi (Shaman)
A machi is a traditional healer and religious leader in the Mapuche culture of Chile and Argentina. Machis play significant roles in Mapuche religion. Women are more commonly machis than men.-Description:...

"shaman". It is usually filled by a woman, following an apprenticeship with an older Machi, and has many of the characteristics typical of shamans. The machi performs ceremonies for curing diseases, warding off evil, influencing weather, harvests, social interactions and dreamwork. Machis often have extensive knowledge of Chilean medicinal herbs, though as biodiversity in the Chilean countryside has declined due to commercial agriculture and forestry, the dissemination of such knowledge has also declined but is in revival. Machis also have an extensive knowledge of sacred stones and the sacred animals.

Like many cultures, the Mapuche have a deluge myth (epeu) in which the world is destroyed and recreated. The myth involves two opposing forces, Kai Kai (water, which brings death through floods) and Tren Tren (dry earth which brings sunshine). In the deluge almost all humanity is drowned, the few not drowned survive through cannabilism. At last only one couple is left and are told by a machi that they must give the waters their only child, which they do, restoring order to the world. Part of Mapuche ritural is prayer and animal sacrifice required to maintain the cosmic balance. This belief still exists and in 1960 a female machi sacrificed a young boy, throwing him into the water after an earthquake and series of tidal waves.

An equally important part of Mapuche belief and society is the remembered history of independence and resistance from 1540 (Spanish and then Chileans) and of the treaty with the Chilean government in the 1870s. In that perception, it is important to include not exclude Mapuches in the Chilean culture. Having said that, memories, stories, and beliefs, often very local and particularized, are a significant part of the Mapuche traditional culture. To varying degrees, this history of resistance continues to this day amongst the Mapuche, though at the same time a large majority in Chile would also strongly include themselves as Chilean similarly to a large majority in Argentina including themselves as Argentines.

Textiles

One of the best known arts of the Mapuche is the textiles. The oldest data on the existence of tissue in the southernmost areas of the American continent (southern Chile and Argentina today) are found in some archaeological findings like those of Pitrén Cemetery near the city of Temuco
Temuco
Temuco is a city and commune, capital of the Cautín Province and of the Araucanía Region in southern Chile. The name comes from the Mapudungun language, meaning "temu water"; "temu" is a tree used by Mapuches for medicinal purposes. The city is located 670 km south of Santiago...

 (Chile) Alboyanco site in the Biobío Region of Chile and the Rebolledo Arriba Cemetery in Neuquén Province
Neuquén Province
Neuquén is a province of Argentina, located in the west of the country, at the northern end of Patagonia. It borders Mendoza Province to the north, Rio Negro Province to the southeast, and Chile to the west...

 (Argentina). They have found evidence of fabrics made with complex techniques and designs with a round date between AD 1300-1350.

The oldest historical documents that refer to the existence of textile art among the aborigines of southern Chilean and Argentine territory, dating from the sixteenth century and consist of chronicles of European explorers and settlers. These accounts claim that at the arrival of Europeans in the region of the Araucanía, natives of the area wore textiles made with camel's hair that they made from the raw material obtained from the breeding of these animals. Later, and with the addition of sheep brought by the Europeans, these Indians began breeding these animals and use their wool for making their weaves, after which it prevailed over the use of camelid hair. Towards the end of the sixteenth century, these sheep reared by indigenous degenerated in animals with a more robust body and a thicker wool and longer than the cattle brought by the Europeans. These characteristics make possible to suggest that it was a higher quality animals.

These fabrics were made by women who transmitted their knowledge from generation to generation, orally and through imitation of gestures, usually within the family environment. They were highly prized for their textile knowledge: through the development of their weaves, women played an important economic role and also cultural. For these reasons, at the time of giving a dowry for her marriage, a man must give a dowry much greater if the married woman was a good weaver.

Currently, many Mapuche women continue making the tissue according to the customs of their ancestors and transmitting their knowledge in the same way: in the domestic scope and family, from mother to daughter, from grandmothers to granddaughters, as happened in the past. This form of learning is based on gestural imitation, and only rarely, and when strictly necessary, the apprentice receives explicit instructions or help from their instructors. This means that knowledge is transmitted in the moments of realization of fabrics: and “make” and transmission of knowledge go together.

In Andean societies textiles had a great importance. They were developed to be used as clothing, as tool and shelter for the home, as well as a status symbol. This feature of textiles was also visible in the Araucanía region in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, where, as reported by various chroniclers of Chile, the Indians struggled to get Hispanic clothing and fabrics as a trophy of war on treaties with the Spanish, and even the bodies were dressed in their best clothes in their funerals.

In addition, the weaves were a surplus and an exchange good very significant for the Indians. Numerous accounts from the sixteenth century show that the tissues were used to barter among different aboriginal groups, and since the establishment of colonies, between them and the settlers. These barters allowed to obtain those goods that the Indians did not produce or had in high esteem, such as horses. Tissue volumes made by Aboriginal women and marketed in the Araucanía and the north of the Patagonia Argentina were really considerable and constitute a vital economic resource for indigenous families. It is therefore wrong to say that the production of fabrics in the time before European settlement was intended solely for the use of the family or members of indigenous groups.

At present, the fabrics woven by the Mapuche continue being destined for domestic as well as for gift, sale or barter. Although now women and their families wear garments with foreign designs and tailored with materials of industrial origin and only the ponchos, blankets, strips and belts are of regular use. Many of the fabrics made are intended for the trade and in many cases are an important source of income for families.

Mapuches in popular culture

The characters Huilen and Nahuel in the last book of the Twilight Saga, "Breaking Dawn
Breaking Dawn
Breaking Dawn is the fourth and final novel in the The Twilight Saga by American author Stephenie Meyer. Divided into three parts, the first and third sections are written from Bella Swan's perspective and the second is written from the perspective of Jacob Black...

" by Stephenie Meyer, are Mapuche.

See also

  • Araucaria araucana
    Araucaria araucana
    Araucaria araucana is an evergreen tree growing to tall with a trunk diameter. The tree is native to central and southern Chile, western Argentina and south Brazil. Araucaria araucana is the hardiest species in the conifer genus Araucaria...

  • Caupolican
    Caupolican
    Caupolicán was a Toqui, the military leader of the Mapuche people of Chile, that commanded their army during the first Mapuche rising against the Spanish conquistadors from 1553 to 1558....

  • Colocolo
    Colocolo (tribal chief)
    Colocolo was a Mapuche leader in the early period of the Arauco War. He was a major figure in Alonso de Ercilla y Zúñiga's epic poem La Araucana, about the early Arauco War. In the poem he was the one that proposed the contest between the rival candidates for Toqui that resulted in the choice of...

  • Galvarino
    Galvarino
    Galvarino is a Chilean town and commune , part of Cautín Province, in the Araucanía Region.The town, named for the Mapuche warrior Galvarino, was founded on April 22, 1882 within the frame of the occupation of Araucanía by general Gregorio Urrutia, next to river Quillem as a fort of . Its...

  • Kingdom of Araucania and Patagonia
    Kingdom of Araucania and Patagonia
    The Kingdom of Araucanía and Patagonia was the name of a state and kingdom created in the 19th century by a French lawyer and adventurer named Orélie-Antoine de Tounens. Orélie-Antoine de Tounens claimed the regions of Araucanía and eastern Patagonia hence the name of kingdom...

  • Lautaro
  • Mapuche International Link
    Mapuche International Link
    Mapuche International Link is an organization which campaigns on behalf of the Mapuche people of southern Chile and Argentina. The group was formed in 1996 and is based in Bristol, United Kingdom....


Further reading

  • Language of the land : the Mapuche in Argentina and Chile: http://www.iwgia.org/sw21526.asp, 2007, ISBN 9788791563379
  • When a flower is reborn : the life and times of a Mapuche feminist, 2002, ISBN 0822329344
  • Courage tastes of blood : the Mapuche community of Nicolás Ailío and the Chilean state, 1906-2001, 2005, ISBN 0822335859
  • Neoliberal economics, democratic transition, and Mapuche demands for rights in Chile, 2006, ISBN 0813029384
  • Shamans of the foye tree : gender, power, and healing among Chilean Mapuche, 2007, ISBN 9780292716582
  • A grammar of Mapuche, 2007, ISBN 9783110195583
  • Mapuche Dreamwork: http://www.clas.berkeley.edu:7001/Gallery/nakashima/index.html
  • Eim, Stefan (2010). The Conceptualisation of Mapuche Religion in Colonial Chile (1545–1787)’’: http://archiv.ub.uni-heidelberg.de/volltextserver/volltexte/2010/10717/pdf/Eim_Conceptualisation_of_Mapuche_Religion.pdf.
  • Faron, Louis (1961). Mapuche Social Structure, Illinois Studies in Anthropology1 (Urbana: University of Illinois Press).

External links

The source of this article is wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.  The text of this article is licensed under the GFDL.
 
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