Mapuche

Last updated
Mapuche
Mapuche woman chile.jpg
Total population
c. 1,950,000
Regions with significant populations
Chile1,745,147 (2017) [1]
Argentina205,009 (2010) [2]
Languages
Mapudungun   Spanish
Related ethnic groups
Core groups: Boroanos, Cunco, Huilliche, Lafquenche, Moluche, Picunche, Promaucae
Araucanized groups: Pehuenche, Puelche, Ranquel, Tehuelche

The Mapuche are a group of indigenous inhabitants of south-central Chile and southwestern Argentina, including parts of present-day Patagonia. The collective term refers to a wide-ranging ethnicity composed of various groups who shared a common social, religious, and economic structure, as well as a common linguistic heritage as Mapudungun speakers. Their influence once extended from the Aconcagua River to the Chiloé Archipelago and spread later eastward to the Argentine pampa. Today the collective group makes up over 80% of the indigenous peoples in Chile, and about 9% of the total Chilean population. Mapuches are particularly concentrated in Araucanía. Many have migrated to the Santiago and Buenos Aires area for economic opportunities.

Indigenous peoples of the Americas Pre-Columbian inhabitants of North, Central and South America and their descendants

The indigenous peoples of the Americas are the pre-Columbian peoples of North, Central and South America and their descendants.

Chile Republic in South America

Chile, officially the Republic of Chile, is a South American country occupying a long, narrow strip of land between the Andes 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 south. Chilean territory includes the Pacific islands of Juan Fernández, Salas y Gómez, Desventuradas, and Easter Island in Oceania. Chile also claims about 1,250,000 square kilometres (480,000 sq mi) of Antarctica, although all claims are suspended under the Antarctic Treaty.

Argentina Federal republic in South America

Argentina, officially the Argentine Republic, is a country located mostly in the southern half of South America. Sharing the bulk of the Southern Cone with Chile to the west, the country is also bordered by Bolivia and Paraguay to the north, Brazil to the northeast, Uruguay and the South Atlantic Ocean to the east, and the Drake Passage to the south. With a mainland area of 2,780,400 km2 (1,073,500 sq mi), Argentina is the eighth-largest country in the world, the fourth largest in the Americas, the second largest in South America after Brazil, and the largest Spanish-speaking nation. The sovereign state is subdivided into twenty-three provinces and one autonomous city, Buenos Aires, which is the federal capital of the nation as decided by Congress. The provinces and the capital have their own constitutions, but exist under a federal system. Argentina claims sovereignty over part of Antarctica, the Falkland Islands, and South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands.

Contents

The Mapuche traditional economy is based on agriculture; their traditional social organization consists of extended families, under the direction of a lonko or chief. In times of war, Mapuche would unite in larger groupings and elect a toki (meaning "axe, axe-bearer") to lead them. Mapuche are known for the textiles woven by women, which have been goods for trade for centuries, since before the arrival of European explorers.

Toqui Mapuche leader in times of war

Toqui is a title conferred by the Mapuche on those chosen as leaders during times of war. The toqui is chosen in an assembly or parliament (coyag) of the chieftains (loncos) of various clans (Rehues) or confederation of clans (Aillarehues), allied during the war at hand. The toqui commanded strict obedience of all the warriors and their loncos during the war, would organize them into units and appoint leaders over them. This command would continue until the toqui was killed, abdicated (Cayancaru), was deposed in another parliament, or upon completion of the war for which he was chosen.

At the time of Spanish arrival the Araucanian Mapuche inhabited the valleys between the Itata and Toltén rivers. South of it, the Huilliche and the Cunco lived as far south as the Chiloé Archipelago. In the seventeenth, eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, Mapuche groups migrated eastward into the Andes and pampas, fusing and establishing relationships with the Poya and Pehuenche. At about the same time, ethnic groups of the pampa regions, the Puelche, Ranquel 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.

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, and the destruction of the Seven Cities in 1598–1604 in the Araucanía region.

Itata River river in Chile

The Itata River flows in the Bío Bío Region, southern Chile.

Toltén Commune in Araucanía, Chile

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. The commune is administered by the municipality Nueva Toltén, the main harbour and town within the commune.

Mapuche in the Spanish-ruled areas, specially the Picunche, mingled with Spanish during colonial times losing their indigenous identity. But Mapuche society in Araucanía and Patagonia remained independent until the Chilean Occupation of Araucanía and the Argentine Conquest of the Desert in the late nineteenth century. Since then Mapuche 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 over land and indigenous rights in both Argentina and in Chile.

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. Until the Conquest of Chile the Itata was the natural limit between the Mapuche, located to the south, and Picunche, to the north. During the Inca attempt to conquer Chile the southern Picunche peoples that successfully resisted them were later known as the Promaucaes.

Araucanía (historic region) Historic indigenously-inhabited region of Chile

Araucanía or Araucana was the Spanish name given to the region of Chile inhabited by the Mapuche peoples known as the Moluche in the 18th century. Prior to the Spanish conquest of Chile, the lands of the Moluche lay between the Itata River and Toltén River. Following the great rising of the Moluche and Huilliche after the Battle of Curalaba in 1598 during the Arauco War, the Spanish were expelled from south of the Bío-Bío River. After many decades of further warfare, the bounds of Araucania were recognized by the Spanish as being between the Bío-Bío River and Toltén River. This old region of Araucanía now is divided between the southern part of the Bío-Bío Region and the Araucanía Region, in southern Chile.

Occupation of Araucanía series of military campaigns, agreements and penetrations to incorporate the southern part of Chile

The Occupation of Araucanía or Pacification of Araucanía (1861–1883) was a series of military campaigns, agreements and penetrations by the Chilean army and settlers into Mapuche territory which led to the incorporation of Araucanía into Chilean national territory. Pacification of Araucanía was the expression used by the Chilean authorities for this process.

Etymology

Historically the Spanish colonizers of South America referred to the Mapuche people as Araucanians (araucanos). However, this term is now considered pejorative [3] by some people. The name was likely derived from the placename rag ko (Spanish Arauco), meaning "clayey water". [4] [5] The Quechua word awqa, meaning "rebel, enemy", is probably not the root of araucano. [4]

Arauco, Chile City and Commune in Bío Bío, Chile

Arauco is a city and commune in Chile, located in Arauco Province in the Bío Bío Region. The meaning of Arauco means Chalky Water in Mapudungun. The region was a Moluche aillarehue. The Spanish settlements founded here during the Conquest of Chile were destroyed on numerous occasions by the Mapuche during the Arauco War.

It's thought that the various Mapuche groups (Moluche, Huilliche, Picunche, etc.) called themselves "Reche" during the Spanish conquest due to their supposed pure native blood, "Re" meaning pure and "Che" meaning people. [6]

The Moluche or Nguluche are an indigenous people of Chile. Their language was a dialect of Mapudungun, a Mapuche language. At the beginning of the Conquest of Chile by the Spanish Empire the Moluche lived in what came to be known as Araucanía. The Moluche were called Araucanos ("Araucanians") by the Spanish.

The name "Mapuche" is used both to refer collectively to the Picunche, Huilliche and Moluche or Nguluche from Araucanía, or at other times, exclusively to the Moluche or Nguluche from Araucanía. However, Mapuche is a relatively recent endonym meaning "People of the Land", is preferred to be used when referring to the "Mapuche" people after the Arauco War. [7]

The Mapuche define themselves with territorial entities arranged along geographical lines as:

History

Huaman Poma de Ayala's picture of the confrontation between the Mapuches (left) and the Incas (right) MapvsInc.JPG
Huamán Poma de Ayala's picture of the confrontation between the Mapuches (left) and the Incas (right)

Pre–Columbian period

Archaeological finds have shown the existence of a Mapuche culture in Chile and Argentina as early as 600 to 500 BC. [9] Genetically Mapuches differ from the adjacent indigenous peoples of Patagonia. [10] This suggests a "different origin or long lasting separation of Mapuche and Patagonian populations". [10]

Troops of the Inca Empire are reported to have reached the Maule River and had a battle with the Mapuches between the Maule River and the Itata River there. [11] The southern border of the Inca Empire is believed by most modern scholars to have been situated between Santiago and the Maipo River or somewhere between Santiago and the Maule River. [12] Thus the bulk of the Mapuche escaped Inca rule. Through their contact with Incan invaders Mapuches would have for the first time met people with state organization. Their contact with the Incas gave them a collective awareness distinguishing between them and the invaders and uniting them into loose geo-political units despite their lack of state organization. [13]

At the time of the arrival of the first Spaniards to Chile the largest indigenous population concentration was in the area spanning from Itata River to Chiloé Archipelago—that is the Mapuche heartland. [14] The Mapuche population between Itata River and Reloncaví Sound has been estimated at 705,000–900,000 in the mid-sixteenth century by historian José Bengoa. [15] [note 1]

Arauco War

The Spanish expansion into Mapuche territory was an offshoot of the conquest of Peru. [16] In 1541 Pedro de Valdivia reached Chile from Cuzco and founded Santiago. [17] The northern Mapuche tribes, known Promaucaes and Picunches, fought unsuccessfully against Spanish conquest. Little is known about their resistance. [18]

Picture El joven Lautaro of P. Subercaseaux, shows the military genius and expertise of his people. El joven Lautaro - P. Subercaseaux.PNG
Picture El joven Lautaro of P. Subercaseaux, shows the military genius and expertise of his people.

In 1550 Pedro de Valdivia, who aimed to control all of Chile to the Straits of Magellan, campaigned in south-central Chile to conquer more Mapuche territory. [19] Between 1550 and 1553 the Spanish founded several cities [note 2] in Mapuche lands including Concepción, Valdivia, Imperial, Villarrica and Angol. [19] The Spanish also established the forts of Arauco, Purén and Tucapel. [19] Further efforts by the Spanish to gain more territory engaged them in the Arauco War against the Mapuche, a sporadic conflict that lasted nearly 350 years. Hostility towards the conquerors was compounded by the lack of a tradition of forced labour akin to the Inca mita among the Mapuche, who largely refused to serve the Spanish. [21]

From their establishment in 1550 to 1598, the Mapuche frequently laid siege to Spanish settlements in Araucanía. [20] The war was mostly a low intensity conflict. [22] Mapuche numbers decreased significantly following contact with the Spanish invaders; wars and epidemics decimated the population. [18] Others died in Spanish owned gold mines. [21]

Caupolican by Nicanor Plaza Grabado Caupolican-Nicanor Plaza.jpg
Caupolican by Nicanor Plaza

In 1598 a party of warriors from Purén led by Pelantaro, who were returning south from a raid in Chillán area, ambushed Martín García Óñez de Loyola and his troops [23] while they rested without taking any precautions against attack. Almost all the Spaniards died, save a cleric named Bartolomé Pérez, who was taken prisoner, and a soldier named Bernardo de Pereda. The Mapuche then initiated a general uprising which destroyed all the cities in their homeland south of the Biobío River.

In the years following the Battle of Curalaba a general uprising developed among the Mapuches and Huilliches. The Spanish cities of Angol, Imperial, Osorno, Santa Cruz de Oñez, Valdivia and Villarrica were either destroyed or abandoned. [24] Only Chillán and Concepción resisted Mapuche sieges and raids. [25] With the exception of the Chiloé Archipelago, all Chilean territory south of the BíoBío River was freed from Spanish rule. [24] In this period the Mapuche Nation crossed the Andes to conquer the present Argentine provinces of Chubut, Neuquen, La Pampa and Río Negro.[ citation needed ]

Incorporation into Chile and Argentina

Cornelio Saavedra Rodriguez in meeting with the main lonkos of Araucania in 1869 Ocupacion de la Araucania 1869.JPG
Cornelio Saavedra Rodríguez in meeting with the main lonkos of Araucania in 1869

In the nineteenth century Chile experienced a fast territorial expansion. Chile established a colony at the Strait of Magellan in 1843, settled Valdivia, Osorno and Llanquihue with German immigrants and conquered land from Peru and Bolivia. [26] [27] Later Chile would also annex Easter Island. [28] In this context Araucanía began to be conquered by Chile due to two reasons. First, the Chilean state aimed for territorial continuity [29] and second it remained the sole place for Chilean agriculture to expand. [30]

Between 1861 and 1871 Chile incorporated several Mapuche territories in Araucanía. In January 1881, having decisively defeated Peru in the battles of Chorrillos and Miraflores, Chile resumed the conquest of Araucanía. [31] [32] [33]

Historian Ward Churchill has claimed that the Mapuche population dropped from a total of half a million to 25,000 within a generation as result of the occupation and its associated famine and disease. [34] The conquest of Araucanía caused numerous Mapuches to be displaced and forced to roam in search of shelter and food. [35] Scholar Pablo Miramán claims the introduction of state education during the Occupation of Araucanía had detrimental effects on traditional Mapuche education. [36]

Ancient flag of the Mapuche on the Arauco War. Lautaro flag.svg
Ancient flag of the Mapuche on the Arauco War.

In the years following the occupation the economy of Araucanía changed from being based on sheep and cattle herding to one based on agriculture and wood extraction. [37] The loss of land by Mapuches following the occupation caused severe erosion since Mapuches continued to practice a massive livestock herding in limited areas. [38]

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% 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 identities.

Mapuche activists killed in confrontations with the Chilean police in the 2000s. Mapuche conflict (youngs Mapuche dead for Chilean State in 00's).JPG
Mapuche activists killed in confrontations with the Chilean police in the 2000s.

Though Japanese and Swiss interests are active in the economy of Araucanía (Mapudungun: "Ngulu Mapu"), the two chief forestry companies are Chilean-owned. In the past, the firms have planted hundreds of thousands of acres with non-native species such as Monterey pine, Douglas firs and eucalyptus trees, sometimes replacing native Valdivian forests, although such substitution and replacement is now forgotten.

Chile exports wood to the United States, almost all of which comes from this southern region, with an annual value of around $600 million. Stand.earth, 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 delicts committed by Mapuche activists have been prosecuted under counter-terrorism legislation, originally introduced by the military dictatorship of Augusto Pinochet to control political dissidents. 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. Violent activist groups, such as the Coordinadora Arauco Malleco, use tactics such as burning of structures and pastures, and death threats against people and their families. Protesters from Mapuche communities have used these tactics against properties of both multinational forestry corporations and private individuals. [39] [40] In 2010 the Mapuche launched a number of hunger strikes in attempts to effect change in the anti-terrorism legislation. [41]

Culture

Flag of the Mapuche Flag of the Mapuches.svg
Flag of the Mapuche

At the time of the arrival of Europeans, the Mapuche organized and constructed a network of forts and complex defensive buildings. Ancient Mapuche also built ceremonial constructions such as some earthwork mounds recently discovered near Purén. [42] Mapuche quickly adopted iron metal-working (Mapuche already worked copper [43] ) Mapuche learned horseback-riding and the use of cavalry in war from the Spaniards, along with the cultivation of wheat and sheep.

In the 300-year co-existence between the Spanish colonies and the relatively well-delineated autonomous Mapuche regions, the Mapuche also developed a strong tradition of trading with Spaniards, Argentines and Chileans. Such trade lies at the heart of the Mapuche silver-working tradition, for Mapuche wrought their jewelry from the large and widely dispersed quantity of Spanish, Argentine and Chilean silver coins. Mapuche also made headdresses with coins, which were called trarilonko, etc.

Mapuche languages

The daughter of lonko Quilapan Hija del Cacique Quilpran, en 1868.jpg
The daughter of lonko Quilapán

Mapuche languages are spoken in Chile and Argentina. The two living branches are Huilliche and Mapudungun. Although not genetically related, lexical influence has been discerned from Quechua. Linguists estimate that only about 200,000 full-fluency speakers remain in Chile. The language 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.

Mapuche speakers of Chilean Spanish who also speak Mapudungun tend to use more impersonal pronouns when speaking Spanish. [44]

Cosmology and beliefs

Central to Mapuche cosmology is the idea of a creator called ngenechen, who is embodied in four components: an older man (fucha/futra/cha chau), an older woman (kude/kuse), a young man and a young woman. They believe in worlds known as the Wenu Mapu and Minche Mapu. Also, Mapuche cosmology is informed by complex notions of spirits that coexist with humans and animals in the natural world, and daily circumstances can dictate spiritual practices. [45]

The most well-known Mapuche ritual ceremony is the Ngillatun, which loosely translates "to pray" or "general prayer". These ceremonies are often major communal events that are of extreme spiritual and social importance. Many other ceremonies are practiced, and not all are for public or communal participation but are sometimes limited to family.

The main groups of deities and/or spirits in Mapuche mythology are the Pillan and Wangulen (ancestral spirits), the Ngen (spirits in nature), and the wekufe (evil spirits).

Central to Mapuche belief is the role of the machi (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 regional medicinal herbs. As biodiversity in the Chilean countryside has declined due to commercial agriculture and forestry, the dissemination of such knowledge has also declined, but the Mapuche people are reviving it in their communities. Machis have an extensive knowledge of sacred stones and the sacred animals.

Familia Mapuche, by Claudio Gay, 1848. Mapuche telas y juegos.jpg
Familia Mapuche, by Claudio Gay, 1848.

Like many cultures, the Mapuche have a deluge myth (epeu) of a major flood 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 cannibalism. At last only one couple is left. A machi tells them that they must give their only child to the waters, which they do, and this restores order to the world.

Part of Mapuche ritual is prayer and animal sacrifice, required to maintain the cosmic balance. This belief has continued to current times. In 1960, for example, a machi sacrificed a young boy, throwing him into the water after an earthquake and a tsunami. [46] [47] [48]

The Mapuche have incorporated the remembered history of their long independence and resistance from 1540 (Spanish and then Chileans and Argentines), and of the treaty with the Chilean and Argentine government in the 1870s. 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. At the same time, a large majority of Mapuche in Chile identify with the state as Chilean, similar to a large majority in Argentina identifying as Argentines.[ citation needed ]

Ceremonies and traditions

We Tripantu is the Mapuche New Year celebration.

Textiles

Traditional Mapuche poncho exhibited in Museo Artesania Chilena. Artesania Chilena - Manta Mapuche.jpg
Traditional Mapuche poncho exhibited in Museo Artesanía Chilena.
Height of a chemamull (Mapuche funeral statue) compared to a person. Che mamull proporcion.svg
Height of a chemamull (Mapuche funeral statue) compared to a person.

One of the best-known arts of the Mapuche is their textiles. The oldest data on textiles in the southernmost areas of the American continent (southern Chile and Argentina today) are found in some archaeological excavations, such as those of Pitrén Cemetery near the city of Temuco, and the Alboyanco site in the Biobío Region, both of Chile; and the Rebolledo Arriba Cemetery in Neuquén Province (Argentina). researchers have found evidence of fabrics made with complex techniques and designs, dated to between AD 1300–1350. [49]

The Mapuche women were responsible for spinning and weaving. Knowledge of both weaving techniques and textile patterns particular to the locality were usually transmitted within the family, with mothers, grandmothers, and aunts teaching a girl the skills they had learned from their own elders. Women who excelled in the textile arts were highly honored for their accomplishments and contributed economically and culturally to their kinship group. A measure of the importance of weaving is evident in the expectation that a man give a larger dowry for a bride who was an accomplished weaver. [50]

In addition, the Mapuche used their textiles as an important surplus and an exchange trading good. Numerous sixteenth-century accounts describe their bartering the textiles with other indigenous peoples, and with colonists in newly developed settlements. Such trading enabled the Mapuche to obtain those goods that they did not produce or held 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. [51] The production of fabrics in the time before European settlement was clearly intended for uses beyond domestic consumption. [52]

At present, the fabrics woven by the Mapuche continue to be used for domestic purposes, as well as for gift, sale or barter. Most Mapuche women and their families now wear garments with foreign designs and tailored with materials of industrial origin, but they continue to weave ponchos, blankets, bands and belts for regular use. Many of the fabrics are woven for trade, and in many cases, are an important source of income for families. [53] Glazed pots are used to dye the wool. [54] Many Mapuche women continue to weave fabrics according to the customs of their ancestors and transmit their knowledge in the same way: within domestic life, from mother to daughter, and from grandmothers to granddaughters. 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. Knowledge is transmitted as fabric is woven, the weaving and transmission of knowledge go together. [50]

Clava hand-club

Clava is a traditional stone hand-club used by the Mapuche. It has a long flat body. Its full name is clava mere okewa; in Spanish, it's known as clava cefalomorfa. It has some ritual importance as a special sign of distinction carried by tribal chiefs. Many kinds of clavas are known.

This is an object associated with masculine power. It consists of a disk with attached handle; the edge of the disc usually has a semicircular recess. In many cases, the face portrayed on the disc carries incised designs. The handle is cylindrical, generally with a larger diameter at its connection to the disk. [55] [56]

Silverwork

Drawing of a trapelacucha, a silver finery piece. Trapelacucha drawing.svg
Drawing of a trapelacucha, a silver finery piece.

In the later half of the eighteenth century Mapuche silversmithing began to produce large amounts of silver finery. [57] The surge of silversmithing activity may be related to the 1726 parliament of Negrete that decreased hostilities between Spaniards and Mapuches and allowed trade to increase between colonial Chile and the free Mapuches. [57] In this context of increasing trade Mapuches began in the late eighteenth century to accept payments in silver coins for their products; usually cattle or horses. [57] These coins and silver coins obtained in political negotiations served as raw material for Mapuche metalsmiths (Mapudungun: rüxafe). [57] [58] [59] Old Mapuche silver pendants often included unmelted silver coins, something that has helped modern researchers to date the objects. [58] The bulk of the Spanish silver coins originated from mining in Potosí in Upper Peru. [59]

The great diversity in silver finery designs is due to the fact that designs were made to be identified with different reynma (families), lof mapu (lands) as well as specific lonkos and machis. [60] Mapuche silver finery was also subject to changes in fashion albeit designs associated with philosophical and spiritual concepts have not undergone major changes. [60]

In the late eighteenth century and early nineteenth century Mapuche silversmithing activity and artistic diversity reached it climax. [61] All important Mapuche chiefs of the nineteenth century are supposed to have had at least one silversmith. [57] By 1984 Mapuche scholar Carlos Aldunate noted that there were no silversmiths alive among contemporary Mapuches. [57]

Literature

The Mapuche culture of the sixteenth century had an oral tradition and lacked a writing system. Since that time, a writing system for Mapudungun was developed, and Mapuche writings in both Spanish and Mapudungun have flourished. [62] Contemporary Mapuche literature can be said to be composed of an oral tradition and Spanish-Mapudungun bilingual writings. [62] Notable Mapuche poets include Sebastián Queupul, Pedro Alonzo, Elicura Chihuailaf and Leonel Lienlaf. [62]

Cogender views

Among the Mapuche in La Araucanía, in addition to heterosexual female "machi" shamanesses, there are homosexual male "machi weye" shamans, who wear female clothing. [63] [64] [65] These machi weye were first described in Spanish in a chronicle of 1673 A.D. [66] Among the Mapuche, "the spirits are interested in machi's gendered discourses and performances, not in the sex under the machi's clothes." [67] In attracting the filew (possessing-spirit), "Both male and female machi become spiritual brides who seduce and call their filew – at once husband and master – to possess their heads ... . ... The ritual transvestism of male machi ... draws attention to the relational gender categories of spirit husband and machi wife as a couple (kurewen)." [68] As concerning "co-gendered identities" [69] of "machi as co-gender specialists", [70] it has been speculated that "female berdaches" may have formerly existed among the Mapuche. [71]

Mapuche, Chileans and the Chilean state

Following the independence of Chile in the 1810s, the Mapuche began to be perceived as Chilean by other Chileans, contrasting with previous perceptions of them as a separate people or nation. [72] Around the time of the Occupation of Araucanía (1861–1883) Mapuches were seen as "primordial" Chileans contrasting with other indigenous peoples in Chile like the Aymara who were perceived as a "foreign element". [73] Nineteenth century Argentine writer and president Domingo Faustino Sarmiento presented his view of the Mapuche-Chile relation by stating: [74]

Between two Chilean provinces (Concepción and Valdivia) there is a piece of land that is not a province, its language is different, it is inhabited by other people and it can still be said that it is not part of Chile. Yes, Chile is the name of the country over where its flag waves and its laws are obeyed.

There are various recorded instances in the nineteenth century when Mapuches were the subject of civilizing mission discourses by elements of Chilean government and military. For example, Cornelio Saavedra Rodríguez called in 1861 for Mapuches to submit to Chilean state authority and "enter into reduction and civilization". [75] When the Mapuches were finally defeated in 1883 president Domingo Santa María declared: [76]

The country has with satisfaction seen the problem of the reduction of the whole Araucanía solved. This event, so important to our social and political life, and so significant for the future of the republic, has ended, happily and with costly and painful sacrifices. Today the whole Araucanía is subjugated, more than to the material forces, to the moral and civilizing force of the republic...

Contemporary attitudes towards Mapuches on the part of non-indigenous people in Chile are highly individual and heterogeneous. Nevertheless, a considerable part of the non-indigenous people in Chile have a prejudiced and discriminatory attitude towards Mapuche. In a 2003 study it was found that among the sample 41% of people over 60 years old, 35% of people of low socio-economic standing, 35% of the supporters of right-wing parties, 36% of Protestants and 26% of Catholics were prejudiced against indigenous peoples in Chile. In contrast, only 8% of those who attended university, 16% of supporters of left-wing parties and 19% of people aged 18–29 were prejudiced. [77] Specific prejudices about the Mapuche is that the Mapuches are slack and alcoholic, to some lesser degree Mapuche are sometimes judged antiquated and dirty. [78]

Sociologist Éric Fassin has called the occurrence of Mapuche domestic workers (Spanish : nanas mapuches) a continuation of colonial relations of servitude. [79]

Historian Gonzalo Vial claims that the Republic of Chile owes a "historical debt" to the Mapuche. The Coordinadora Arauco-Malleco claims to have the goal of a "national liberation" of Mapuche, with their regaining sovereignty over their own lands. [72]

Honors

The Mapuche people are honored in the scientific name of a species of South American lizard, Liolaemus mapuche . [80]

Notes

  1. Note that the Chiloé Archipelago with its large population is not included in this estimate.
  2. These "cities" were often no more than forts. [20]

Related Research Articles

Mapuche language Language isolate spoken in Chile and Argentina by the Mapuche people

Mapuche or Mapudungun is an Araucanian language related to Huilliche spoken in south-central Chile and west central Argentina by the Mapuche people. It is also spelled Mapuzugun and Mapudungu. It was formerly known as Araucanian, the name given to the Mapuche by the Spaniards; the Mapuche avoid it as a remnant of Spanish colonialism, and it is considered offensive.

The Huilliche, Huiliche or Huilliche-Mapuche are the southern partiality of the Mapuche macroethnic group of Chile. The Huilliche are the principal indigenous population of Chile from Toltén River to Chiloé Archipelago. According to Ricardo E. Latcham the term Huilliche started to be used in Spanish after the second founding of Valdivia in 1645, adopting the usage of the Mapuches of Araucanía for the southern Mapuche tribes. Huilliche means 'southerners'

Kalku or Calcu, in Mapuche mythology, is a sorcerer or witch who works with black magic and negative powers or forces. The essentially benevolent shamans are more often referred to as machi, to avoid confusion with the malevolent kalku. Its origins are in Mapuche tradition.

Machi (shaman) 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. In contemporary Mapuche culture women are more commonly machis than men.

Mapuche religion

The mythology and religion of the indigenous Mapuche people of south-central Chile and southwestern Argentina is an extensive and ancient belief system. A series of unique legends and myths are common to the various groups that make up the Mapuche people. These myths tell of the creation of the world and the various deities and spirits that reside in it.

The Araucanization of Patagonia was the process of the expansion of Mapuche culture, influence, and its Mapudungun language from Araucanía across the Andes into the plains of Patagonia. Historians disagree over the time period during which the expansion took place, but estimate it occurred roughly between 1550 and 1850.

Butalmapu or Fütalmapu is the name in Mapudungun for "great land", which were one of the great confederations wherein the Mapuche people organized themselves in case of war. These confederations corresponded to the great geographic areas inhabited by the Mapuches in Chile.

Coordinadora Arauco-Malleco organization

Coordinadora Arauco-Malleco (CAM) is a Mapuche organization dedicated to, what they call, the revindication and recovery of former Mapuche lands. It was founded in 1998, in Tranaquepe, Chile, and is responsible for land occupation in the zones of Tirúa, Contulmo, Cañete and Temucuicui. Protesters from Mapuche communities have used these tactics against multinational forestry corporations and private individuals.

Mapuche conflict Ethnic conflict in Chile today

The 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 Argentina. Demands revolve mainly around three themes: jurisdictional autonomy, return of ancestral lands, and cultural identity. The Mapuche conflict has generated debates that take place in different areas, from the legal discussion through the historiographic controversy about their status as indigenous peoples to the controversial use of the term of terrorist. Historian Gonzalo Vial claims that a "historical debt" exists towards the Mapuche by the Republic of Chile, whereas the Coordinadora Arauco-Malleco aims at a national liberation of Mapuches.

In Chilean historiography, Colonial Chile is the period from 1600 to 1810, beginning with the Destruction of the Seven Cities and ending with the onset of the Chilean War of Independence. During this time the Chilean heartland was ruled by Captaincy General of Chile. The period was characterized by a lengthy conflict between Spaniards and native Mapuches known as the Arauco War. Colonial society was divided in distinct groups including Peninsulars, Criollos, Mestizos, Indians and Black people.

Mapuche flag is each of the flags used as an emblem and symbol of the Mapuche Nation and the Mapuche communities and organizations in Chile and Argentina. There are several different flags representing the Mapuche communities and territories.

German colonization of Valdivia, Osorno and Llanquihue

From 1850 to 1875 the region around Valdivia, Osorno and Llanquihue in Southern Chile received some 6,000 German immigrants as part of a state-led colonization scheme. Some immigrants were leaving Europe as consequence of the aftermath of the German revolutions of 1848–49. They brought skills and assets as artisans, farmers and merchants to Chile, contributing to development. German settlement had a long-lasting influence on the society, economy, and geography of Southern Chile.

The Mapuche uprising of 1881 was the last major rebellion of the indigenous Mapuches of Araucanía. The uprising took place during the last phase of the Occupation of Araucanía (1861–1883) by the Chilean state. The uprising was planned by Mapuche chiefs in March 1881 to be launched in November of the same year. Mapuche support for the uprising was not unanimous, some Mapuche factions sided with the Chileans and others declared themselves neutral. The organizers of the uprising did however succeed in involving Mapuche factions that had not previously been at war with Chile. The 1881 uprising can be considered the climax of the Chilean-Mapuche hostilities during the Occupation of Araucanía.

The Mapuche people of southern Chile and Argentina have a long history dating back as an archaeological culture to 600–500 BC. The Mapuche society had great transformations after Spanish contact in the mid–16th century. These changes included the adoption of Old World crops and animals and the onset of a rich Spanish–Mapuche trade in La Frontera and Valdivia. Despite these contacts Mapuche were never completely subjugated by the Spanish Empire. Between the 18th and 19th century Mapuche culture and people spread eastwards into the Pampas and the Patagonian plains. This vast new territory allowed Mapuche groups to control a substantial part of the salt and cattle trade in the Southern Cone.

Ana Mariella Bacigalupo is a Peruvian anthropologist. She is currently an associate professor at the State University of New York at Buffalo, and has previously taught throughout the USA and in Chile. Her research primarily focuses on the shamans or machis of the Mapuche community of Chile, and the ways shamanic practices and beliefs are affected by and influence communal experiences of state power, mythical history, ethics, gender, justice, identity, and much more.

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Bibliography

Further reading