Mapuche territorial identities of Araucania


The region of the Araucanía is defined by four great territorial identities with main differences in the natural and geographical aspect of the territory that Mapuche people inhabit. Each one has its characteristic and particular activities: in the mountain zone we find Pewenche, people of the piñon; in the zones of the pre-mountain and half valley to Wenteche, people of the llanos or “Arribanos”; in the north zone between the Andes mountain range and Nahuelbuta the Nagche, people from below or “Abajinos”; in the coastal zone and bordemar, Lafkenche, people of the coast or the sea.

Chumgechi üytugekey txokitun mapu

Feyta chi Araucania pigechi winka üytun mapu, melike txoy mapu üytuley, kishuke ñi az mapu mew, ka ñi az kimün mew chew ta kom azkülekey ta pu mapuche, feytake chi txoyke mapu kishuke nieygün ñi azentun ka ñi küzaw zugu egün, wentetu mapu müle müley ta pu Pewenche, feyta pu gilliwke che pigekey, zoy nag püle wentetu, müley ta pu wenteche, feyta puche mülelu laf mapu mew, ka feyti chi che mülelu ellaka wente mu, ka zoy lafken püle müley ta pu nagche, ka inafül lafken püle müley ta pu lafkenche.


Mapuche people (mapu, land – che, people) currently live in Chile and Argentina. They have historically inhabited from the north of La Serena to the south of the country, after the arrival of the Spaniards in the sixteenth century. They established their boundaries through treaties from south of the Bio-Bio River to the Greater Island of Chiloe.

The Mapuche Nation comprises two large territorial areas: Gulu Mapu in the western parts of the Andes mountain range and Puel Mapu, in the east. Today, these correspond to the current countries of Chile and Argentina. The natural limit, the Andes mountain range, was known as Pirre Mapu.

In this way, the Mapuche nation, or Wall Mapu, in its two parts covers this vast territory between two oceans or Lafken.

It has a rich history that has been orally transmitted from the elders (kufiche keche) to the young (weche keche), by generation. At the home stove of the Mapuche or Ruka, feats of the ancient warriors are told and the norms of life are taught as well. The greatest creation has been the word, that is, their Mapudungun language.

Mapuche, zew kuyfi mogen.
Rüf kuyfi kimün.

Feyta chi pu mapuche (mapu, tierra – che, gente) mülekefuygün Chile pigechi mapu, ka Argentina mew pigechi fütxa mapu, feyta mülekefuygün kuyfitu mew pikun mapu püle “La Serena” pigechi winka üytun mapu ka kom willi mapu mew, welu akun mew pu winka (españoles) kuyfi zewma siglo XVI. Feyta mew txürümzuguygün feyta wüzafigün ta mapu willi püle Bio Bio pigechi mapu ka puwukefuy Chiloe mew pigechi üytun mapu.

Feyta chi mapuche azmapu, wüzaley epu rume txokitun üy mapu, müley ta Gülu mapu feyta lafken püle fütxa winkul mapu mew ka feyti chi Puel mapu, puel mew; fewla ta mületuygün ta epu rume üytun mapuche, Chile ka Argentina pigelu. Feyta kisu wüzalefuy feyta chi f¨xa winkul mapu mew, Pire mapu pigelu.

Femgechi mew, feyta chi Wall Mapu, ñi pu az mapu mew fütxañmafefuy ka ragiñ lafken mew mülekefuygün.

Feyta nieyey kiñe fütxa az kimün rulpalelu gütxamtun mew pu kuyfikecheyem ti pu wechekeche txemkülelu. Feyta chi gütxam txipakefuy Wallpan txütxalwe mew , feyta g¨txamtugenkefuy pu kuyfike weichan zugu, ka femgechi kimeltugekefuy ta che az mogen, feyta weulu feyti zoy azetun kimün ta yempüralu egün feyta ta nemül kewün, feyta ta Mapuzugun.


Az Mapu

Every movement produced on the Wall Mapu (the whole land) was an ordering, an internal logic of the Mapuche World. For this logic not to be altered, as the Kimche or sages explain, it should not be transgressed; what matters is the respect to this standard body, known as Az Mapu.

Az Mapu is the way the Mapuche, nature and the cosmos are organized to coexist. Mapuche Way of Life regulates the harmony of the land, they are organized by it. According to this body of rules, what should and should not be is determined. If the break of the established order is produced, the opposing forces are arising, unleashing the conflict between the positive and negative forces. The ancestors are the mediators between the Elchen and the Mapuche.


Kom zugu txipalu wallmapu mew, feyta mülekefuy ta kiñe az zugu, kiñe kisu günewün mapuche mogen mew. Feyta chi az zugu ñi pekangenuam, pu kimche ñi zgu mew, feyta welugekelafuy, feyta rume feyentugekefuy feyta chi az mapu kimün.

Az mapu, feyta ta pu mapuche,  fillke mogen, ka kom wallantu mapu kiñewkülefuygün mogen mew. Mapuche az mogen mew kom azkülefuy az mapu mew, fey mew günezuamkeygün, kom feyta chi az zugu mew ta azgekey che zugual ka chem zugu nu konual. Feyta mew mülenmew kiñe welukan feyta chip u newen mew, feyta mew ta müley ta zugu kümeke newen mew ka wezake newen mew. Pu kuyfikecheyem ta ragiñelweküleygün Elchen mew ka pu mapuche mew.

Social organization

The first Mapuche Social Organization and the basis of the major structures is Lof. Each grouping together several generations of family gathered around the figure of Longko.

The next structure is Rewe, which corresponds to a Lof grouping. The largest grouping of Rewe corresponds to the social unit of Ayllarewe (nine Lof rewe) or smaller group, to Kiñel Rewe Mapu.

Txokituwün az zugu

Wünelu mew pu mapuche txokitulefuygün Lof mew, feyta txawülekefuygün kiñeke txokinche reñmawen, feyta ñizolkülekefuy kiñe Logko.

Inagechi ka mülekefuy ta rewe, feyta txawükefuygün fillke lof. Feyta zoy mülenmu rewe feyta ta Ayllarewe pigekefuy egün. Kam püchike rewe mapu, feyta ta kiñel rewe mapu pigekefuy.

Mapuche authorities

Harmony is maintained by the four main traditional authorities, the number of stations, land sites, elements, kultrung and founders of the Mapuche people.

Longko: he is the traditional head of the family community, social and cultural leader, and possessor of Kimün (wisdom). He is in charge of the maintenance of Az Mapu.

Werken: he is the messenger and a political leader, who conveys the Lof agreements to other places. He is in charge of the alliances.

Machi: she is the highest religious authority and serves as an intermediary between the world of the visible and the world of the invisible. She is responsible for the health of the communities and responsible for reestablishing the natural balance of people and the natural environment.

Norche: he is the administrator of Justice, who watches for the right and does it with wisdom, since he is also a kimche and with power to be a newenche.


Feyta chi az nor zugu wunelu mew yeniefi ta feyta chi melike nizol che, ka chumgechi ta aztuley ta mogen, meli witxan mapu, chumgechi azküley ta kultxug, ka ti pu ebpelu ta pu mapuche.

Longko, Feyta ta ñizolküley kiñe lof che mew, feyta ta wünelu mew müley kuyfike zugu, ka kimün zugu mew, feyta ta yeniey ta kimün, femgechi ta azniefy ta az mapu ñi mogen.

Werken,  Feyta ta yenielu ta zugu, ka kiñe ñizol che, feyta ta yeniey ta txüpümpel chi zugu kiñe lof mew ka lof mew: feyta ta yeniey ta txawün zugu.

Machi, Feyta rüf ñizol che, feyta ragiñelweküley feyta chi newen zugu mew, nag mew mülechi zugu ka ka mapu mew mülechi zugu, feyta ta yeniey ta kutxanzugu lof mew, ka feyta chi che ta yeniey ta az zugu ñi küme feleal ta che ñi lof mew ka kom mogen mülelu wallontu mew.

Norche, Feyta ta yeniey ta norzugun, feyta ta wenuntufi ta rüf zugu, welu yeniey ta kimün mew, feyta ta kiñe kimche, ka femgechi ta kiñe newenche.

El Kultrung

It is a circular instrument of leather and wood. In it, the symbols of the Mapuche universe, the Wenu Mapu, Nag Mapu, Minche Mapu dimensions are found. The identities of the territory Puel Mapu, Lafken Mapu, Willi Mapu, Pikun Mapu are also represented. The original family: Sun, Moon, Star, Bright Star; the four members of the creation of the universe: Fucha (old man), Kuze (old woman), Ullcha (young woman), Weche (young man.)

As a link in the kultrung is Elchen, the creator and spirit of the positive. All this is interrelated to make life on earth and natural harmony possible.


Feyta ta kiñe az zugu, zewmalelu mamüll mew ka munultuley txülke mew, feyta mew azkülekey mapuche ñi kimün, Wenu Mapu, Nag Mapu, Miñche Mapu. Ka femgechi aztuley ta meli witxan mapu Puel Mapu, Lafken Mapu, Willi Mapu, Pikun Mapu. Müley ta pu llituche, anthü, küyehn, wagüleh, wünelfe, ka müley ta meli allon mapu fücha, kuze, ülcha ka weche.

Ka feyta chi kultxug mew müley ta elchen, küme newen püllü, kom feyta chi zugu azkülekey ñi küme mogen nieyeael mapu mew kom pu newen ka mogen mew müleyelu.

Ruka in the Mapuche life

Native house, ruka is the most representative space of the Mapuche world. This is a place of encounter and daily and communal participation. This is the circular representation of the land inhabited by man in the nagmapu. Its use is multiple: family residence, community meeting, bonds strengthening, food storage, but especially to recreate a life in harmony.


Kiñe ruka ta rume falintugey ta mapuche mogen mew, feyta ta zoy pegeluwkey ta pu mapuche, feyta mew ta txawuwi ta che, anthü mew ka lof zugu mew; feyta mew azküley ta Wall kimün az mapu welu chumgechi ta yefi ta che nag mapu mew.

Feyta fill zugu mew müley, txawuwi ta reñma, txawuwï ta pu txokinche, feyta ta kiñewkey ta che, ka feyta mew ta gülümgekey ta ketxan iyael, welu wenelu mew ta küme az mogen mew felekey ta che.

The four elements

In Ruka and Nagmapu, which also is the residence of men, the elements representing the forces of the Mapuche world are present.

Earth: Represented in Kuze (elder woman) is the force of the land (Mapu). Matter and place in which the life of the Mapuche and the relating nature are developed.

Water: Represented in Fucha (old man). Ko (water) is the organizer of the earth’s life, it represents health itself.

Air: Represented in Ulcha Dome (young woman). It embodies the strength of the kurruf (wind). Giver of life on earth. The air transformed into wind cleans and ventilates.

Fire: Represented in Weche wentru (young man). It represents the force of power, life itself. Organizing element of the communal life of the earth. The Kutxal (fire) is a permanent element inside an inhabited enclosure. It should never be turned off.


Kiñe ruka mew ka nag mapu mew, chew ta müley ta pu che, feyta mew ta azküley ta newen chumgechi ta azküley ta mapuche mogen.

Mapu: Feyta kuze mew azküley, feyta ta mapu newen, feyta mew pülli ka newen chew ta mogelekey ta che ka kom pu mogen mülelu mapu mew.

Ko: Feyta fücha mew azküley. Ko ta wülkelu ka azkelu ta mogen mapu mew, ka feyta mew ta müley ta küme felen.

Neyen: Feyta ülcha mew azküley. Feyta yeniey ta kürüf newen. Ka femgechi ta wüli ta mogen mapu mew. Fey ta kürüf mew ta liftukey ka elukey ta küme felen.

kütxal: Feyta weche mew azküley. Feyta ta fütxa newen, mogen newen. Feyta ta azkülekey ta mogen nag mapu mew. Kütxal ta müley ñi üyümkeleal ponwitu ruka mew, feyta ta chogümgekelay.

Practices and meaning

Wetripan antü: The new sunrise, in an intercultural context, we understand the We Tripan Antü as the Mapuche New Year. However, it corresponds to the celebration of the end and beginning of a new cycle of life in nature, even though it coincides with the Winter solstice. It is the date when the forces of nature are renewed, when the longest Pun (night) of the year occurs and where the beginning of the more intense mawün (rains) prepare everything to welcome and favor the birth of life. In different parts of the country, the We Tripan Antü is celebrated.

Lakutun: Celebration of social and religious type, corresponds to the act of recognition and legacy of the Üy (name) of an ancestor who had been excelled by its positive qualities, which is traditionally done by the line of the Laku (paternal grandfather.)


Wetxipan anthü: We txipalu ta anthü, feyta chi epu rume kimün zugu mew feyta ta mapuche ñi we txipantu pigekey, welu feyta chi zugu ta puwlu ta kiñe wallpan anthü mogen mew ka chumgechi ta wegetuy ta maogen, welu feyta ta ka müley eytichi pürapan anthü zugu mew ka solticio pigelu winka zugun mew. Feyta mew ta wegetukey ta kom pu newen mapu mew, feyta akun mew ta kiñe puhn zoy alürupalu txipanthu mew, ka zew ta yitulu fütxake mawün feyta mew ta azeluwi ta mapu ñi wegetuam kon mogen. Fill püle feyta chi mapu ta pu che ta we txipantukey.

Lakutun: Feyta ta txawün ka kimün zugu, feyta chi zugu mew ta üytugekey ta che kiñe wünenche mew, küme aznielu, feyta ta inatugekey ta laku püle. (chaw mew).


Nguillatun: It is an important social activity in which man takes contact with natural, supernatural energy, calming the differences, reestablishing a new balance to achieve the küme Feleam or general well-being with its environment.

The Nguillatun takes between two or three days, this is celebrated every two or four years; or when is necessarily deemed. In it they participate all the Lof (community), each of them invite their relatives and friends. The ceremony is held in the Nguillatuwe, ceremonial field. In communities there is nguillatuwe, where a permit must be prudently requested before visiting these ceremonial sites.

Machitun: It is called to all the ceremonies performed by the Machi. It has the faculty to expel the diseases and to heal the Kutxan (diseases) and to reestablish the physical and spiritual balance of the people.

The Machi is the intermediary between the Mapuche people and the forces that govern the Wallontu Mapu (the whole). By means of her prayers, she gives well-being and health to the community and has a vast knowledge of Lawen. She makes her requests in front of the Rewe.


Ngillatun: Feyta ta kiñe rume küme az kimün, chew ta kom pu che ta txawüluwi newen zugu mew, mülelu nag mapu mew ka wenu mapu mew, feyta ta ñochituykey ta mogen, wiño aztukey ta newen, femgechi ta küme felenkületukey ta kom mogen mapu mew.

kiñe ngillatun nentugekey epuke ka külake anthü mew, epuke ka melike txipanthü mew; ka zuamtugeken mew. Feyta mew txawükey kom kiñe lof che, kom egün magelkefi ñi pu reñma, pu wenüy. Feyta chi zugu nentugekey kiñe gillatuwe mew, lof mew mülekey ta gillatuwe, feyta mew ta re femgechi kontugekelay, müley ñi permisopiael egün.

Machitun: Femgechi üytugekey kom zugu ta nentukelu kiñe machi. Feyta mew entugekey ta kutxan zugu, femgechi ta txemokey ta che, ka femgechi ta küme aztukey ta kalül ka püllü pu che mew.

Machi ta ragiñelweküley kom pu mapuche mew ka pu newen mülelu wallontu mapu mew. Fey ñi yeyipun mew kintukey küme felen pu lofche mew. Ka femgechi machi ta rume kimi lawen zugu mew, feyta ta nentuy ñi zugu kisu ñi rewe mew.

Food and products

The food of the Mapuche people is based on legumes, grains and meat of different animals raised by them: horses, sheep, pigs and birds. To them, native potatoes of this area, wild fruits and vegetables, as well as different types of wild mushrooms are added.

Likewise, the particular products of each area like fish and seafood in the coast and the piñon or pewen, in the mountain range.

Multrung catuto: food based on wheat, kinwa or cooked piñones, is long milled and prepared. This is accompanied with pebre, merken, or sofrito of garlic with horse oil with oregano.

Millokiñ: it is a small meatball made of legumes. These can be peas, chickpeas or beans; these are soaked overnight, are ground and then seasoned to eat.

Muday: it is a food drink based on wheat corn or pine nuts, even of beans. This is boiled, fermented in clay jars called Mezeng and served mainly in spiritual ceremonies and celebrations. Each territory has special characteristics in gastronomy. Undoubtedly you can taste foods with unique flavors and scents.

One of the important activities is the exchange or trafkintu, ancestral relationship between the care and conservation of seeds and knowledge of their uses. Each year this is produced between communities. If you are interested, you can locally contact the seed curators.


Mapuche iyael ta müley ta ketxan mew, tukukan mew, ka fillke ilo kisu püralu egün, kawell, ufisa. Sañue ka achawal. Ka femgechi müley ta poñi faw püle tukukan, fillke fruta, ka filke tukukan kisu txipalu mapu mew ka mawizantu mew.

Ka femgechi ta kiñeke iyael mülelu az  txokitun mapu mew, femgechi ta müley ta chalwa ka zullim txipalu lafken mew, ka femgechi qilliw txipalu pewen mew, fütxa winkul puel mapu mew.

Mültxug: feyta chi iyael kachicha mew zewmagekey ka kinwa kam afüm gilliw mew, feyta ta atemgekey fey azümkagekey fey wüla ta igekey pebre mew, ka merken mew ka kiñeke mew azümkagekey aku kawell yiwin mew ka tukulgekey oreganu.

Millokiñ: Feyta ta zewmagey ketxan mew, feyta allfif geafuy, chicharo, kam zegull mew, feyta ta elkunugekey kiñe txafia me, fey ta atemgekey ta tukulgekey chazi ka chemkün ñi iyafiel.

Muzay: Feyta ta kiñe pütokoye, zewmagekey kachila ka üwa mew kam gilliw mew, ka kiñe ke mew awar mew zewmagekey, feyta wazkümgeley fey wüla ta elkunugekey mezeñ mew. Feyta ta pütokogekey mülen mew txawün zugu lof mew kam püllu zugu mew. Kom lofke che kishuke nieygün ñi az chumgechi ta zewmageken ta kiñeke iyael, femgechi ta eymi kisu günezuammayafimi ta chi fillke iyael ka mapu mew genulu.

Kiñe falin zugu ka müleyelu ta mapuche mogen mew, feyta ta txafkintun pigekey, feyta mew ta pu che ta kuñiwtukefuy ta ketxan zugu, ka femgechi kimünkefuygün kom kimün gan zugu ka tukukan zugu mew, feyta ta entugekey fill txipantu kiñeke lof mew. Eymi ayifilmi femgechi zugu müley ta mi mütxümmeafiel famülke chi che, yempüpelu ta ketxan zugu.

Male and female Mapuche clothing

In Mapuche clothing, aesthetics as cultural differentiators are applied. At present, there are sectors of the country where the original dress is still current. In men it is common that they wear garments at celebrations such as Palin, Nguillatun, Machitun and Mafuwün.

– Men wear with a Dark Chiripa with side embroidery or dark pants, impeccable white shirt, a makuñ or blanket, a Cumpirru or hat, trariwe or belt in waist and zhumel or shoes and also in the head they wear trarilongko or a textile belt.

– Women wear on their head a kerchief of various colors and designs called munulogko. They are covered with a kupam or a flannel black dress that covers almost the entire body except the left shoulder if they are single or right if are married. At waist they wear a trariwe or labored sash with representative symbols of their sexuality and lineage. On their dresses an Ukulla to fine loom with various colors covers themselves according to their status (if they are young, adult, or elderly women.) They are the ones who wear permanently the Takun (traditional costumes.)


Feyta chi mapuche tukuluwün mew müley ta küma az zugu. Fantepu ta müley kiñeke lof mew, ta chumgechi ta rüf tukuluwkefuy ta pu che kuyfi mew, pu wentxu ta tukuluwkey mülen mew ta Palin, Ngillatun, Machitun ka Mafuwün zugu mew.

  • Wentxu ta tukuluwkey ta kiñe kurü chiripa ñiminkülelu kam tukuluwkey kurü pantalontun, lig camisa, kiñe makuñ, ka kiñe chumpiru kam kiñe munulonko, txariwe, ka zumel. Ka femgechi txaritukey ñi lonko, txarilonko mew.
  • Zomo ta tukuluwkey ta lonko kiñe munulonko fill azentulelu, ka tukuluwkey ta küpan femgechi ta kom tukuluwkey ñi kalül, welu wele püle ta kiñe falke lipag ta chañatulekey feyta kiñe zomo fütanienulu, ka man püle ñi falke lipaag fütanielu chi zomo, ka yenieygün kiñe txariwe, ka wente küpam mew tukuluwkey ta ükülla, ka fillke kolotun, feyta ta zoy ülcha kam kuse gelu chi zomo. Feygün ta zomo ta fantepu ta zoy tukuluwkey femgechi takun.


Mapuche handicrafts, as a cultural-artistic manifestation, come from pre-Hispanic times. Nevertheless, despite the changes, they have retained their domestic and utilitarian character, also for representation or religious character.

In vegetal fiber, raw material is still found (despite the ecological regression of the habitat), traditional in the Mapuche handicraft. Baskets, trays and objects decorated with innovation in processes are manufactured.

In wood, quality and the abundant forests in zones of the region of the Araucanía make possible the manufacture of wanko or seat, kitchen utensils, plates, musical instruments and figures of the natural environment, as well as some of Spiritual Significance. On a large scale, Rewe and Chemamull (wooden people) as well as sacred statues.

In pottery, the tradition goes back to the Pitren culture with over a thousand years of existence. From it, the manufacture of high-quality items like the Metawe, ceremonial jar, one of the most ancient in use until today, was inherited.

In textile, of pre-Columbian origin and important in Mapuche identity, it has validity on these times, maintaining the same old techniques of preparation, dyeing and weaving. Duwekafe or weaver is the expert using witral or loom, she has knowledge about the mythical and symbolic meaning of colors and design. Some items to use are various types of blankets, girdles, carpets and trariwe (sash).

Silverware is made by the Retxafe (silversmith). Its creation has its origins in the whole Mapuche cultural universe. Some valued pieces are Txarilongko (silver waistband for women), Sikill and Txapelakucha (silver chest pendant), Tupo (pin for garments), and Kilkay (necklace.)


Feyta chi pepilkan zugu, petu ñi puwnun ta ka txipan che ñi müleken, feymu fewla ta petu pepilkagekey ruka mew ka mülen mew mapuche zugu.

Ka fengechi müley feychi pepilkan nentugekelu anümkan mew, femgechi zewmagekey ta canastu, rali, ka kiñeke we zewman azkülealu kiñe ruka mew.

Mamül mew, ta rume mülekefuy ta ellagechi mamüll feyta chi Araucania pigechi mapu, femgechi ta zewmagekey ta wanku, ka fillke chemkün, rali, ka zewmagekefuy ta ayekawe,ka kiñeke kizutu zewman newen zugu mew. Ka femgechi zewmagekey ta fütxake zugu rewe ka che mamüll.

Wizün zugu mew ta kuyfitu ew ta mülekekefuy pitxen mew pigechi zugu, fantepu ta zoy waranka txipantu mew mületuy, fey chi kimün mew ta müley ta metawe zewman, feyta ta nentugekey ta txawünke zugu mew, feyta ta kiñe kuyfitu zewmn, petu müleyelu ta fantepu.

Feyta gürekan zugu feyta ka niey kuyfi ñi yitun, welu ta feyta ta azkületuy ta mapuche mogen ta fantepu, petu müley kuyfike zewman witxal, chumgechi ta kolotungekey ta kall ka femgechi chumgechi ta zewmageken ta kuyfi, feyta chi pu Zewekafe kam gürekafe feyta ta rume kimi ta witxal zugu, yeniey kom tac hi  kimün komküleyelu feyta chi zugu mew. Kiñeke famülke küzaw ta müley makuñ, txariwe, takun, ponopeyüm.

Rütxan zugu mew azkomküley ta rütxafe. Feyta ta yituy ta mapuche az mogen mew. Feyta chi azümkan müley ta txarilonko, züküll, txapelakucha, tüpü, külkay.