Contact Us

Life and Resistance in the Mapuche Territory, Chile. Vida y Resistencia en el Territorio Mapuche, Chile.

Cultura y Cosmovisión Mapuche. = Mapuche culture and worldview.

Wallmapu is the Mapudungun name for the ancestral territory of the Mapuche people-nation, located in southern Chile and Argentina. Unlike the rest of the indigenous peoples of America, the Mapuche were never defeated by the Spanish Empire. By the sixteenth century, the Kingdom of Spain had already established a border by which it recognized the political and territorial autonomy of the Mapuche Nation. This treatment and territorial limits remained stable after Chile´s independence.

It is not until 1881, with the so-called "Pacification of the Araucanía", that the Mapuche territory is violently annexed to the Chilean Nation-State. Much of the territory is given to foreign settlers and auctioned for the creation of large estates. The Mapuche are incorporated by force into Chilean citizenship and their lands reduced to just over 6% of their ancestral territory.

Throughout the twentieth century, the usurpation of Mapuche territory continues under different mechanisms becoming more severe during Augusto Pinochet´s military dictatorship with the elimination of communal land ownership and the subsidized sale of vast Mapuche lands to forestry companies. Along with enduring strong repression by the military, during Pinochet’s dictatorship, the Mapuche begin to live in extreme poverty for the first time in their history.

Today the Mapuche constitute approximately 10% of the Chilean population, concentrating both in the south of Chile (Wallmapu) and in the central metropolitan area. While many Mapuche have migrated from their communities to cities throughout the country in search of work, the connection with their ancestral territory continues to be a fundamental part of their identity, regularly visiting their communities and families, participating in ceremonies and rituals.

The Chilean-Mapuche conflict is a multidimensional conflict with ethnic, ideological, economic and political elements that question the legitimacy of an extractive model that allows the unrestrained exploitation of natural resources by large companies. The escalation of the conflict in the last two decades has generated high levels of violence and impoverishment that threaten the economic and cultural survival of the Mapuche people.