Mapuche, man from the earth.

Through our journey in Chile, We have spoken a lot about the Mapuches, ancestor of the lands we are crossing. Chileans have opinions very shared on Mapuches current situation. Some people will say that they were usurped and that it is necessary to support them; the others see them as useless person, just good to take the money offered by the government. It is important to mention that the politics do not help with this topic. Actually, any person having a descendant Mapuche until its third generation has access to some government profits. Scholarships, educational journey, projects etc. are distributed. You can easily Imagine that in this situation, every Chilean consults its family tree to know if he has the right to get some money.

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The phenomenon described above is observable in others countries. For example in Australia: the English colonizes the native lands, taking the human away from his traditions and his roots. A few centuries later, the government distributes money to be forgiven for the past. At this moment an appearance of “culture” reappears under another aspect.

As in numerous ethnic groups, communities or tribes, the culture is transformed. Rare is the one, who can meet a community living as at the beginning of the humanity. The fascinated of authenticity keeps unsatisfied. There is always an object which poison the roots of the authenticity. Rather than to be bored, it is better to see the present of past and to understand how this culture will evolve.

In the case of Mapuches, after having fought during several centuries against the colons, of whom they went out victorious, it is with the Chilean government that a new conflict has started. Claim of lands, goods and others … Who is wrong, who is right? To you to judge.


To know more about it, we cycle the Chilean Andes, where the strange Araucarias are crossing our road. This endemic tree of the region of Araucania is unique with its multitude of sharp spines. Hard Labour for the Pehuenche (mapuche from the cordillera) who wish to collect the fruit so appreciated, baptized Pehuen or piñon. This fruit contributes to the economy of the communities living in the mountains. Here, we can cook it on many different styles: fermented (drink called Muday) , boiled to eat or crushed to make a flour.



Other culinary speciality, the tortillas (bread of round shape). The way of cooking them is very particular. After having made a bread dough in a usual way, you have to cover it with hot ashes. 20 minutes later, you just have to take the tortilla out and to scrape it with a knife to remove the burned part. After this stage, you can eat the tortilla and savour it!


In the past, The mapuche lived in a Ruka : round house where the front door is directed to the sunrise, allowing to read the hour according to the shadows reflected into the house. The roof is not closed, allowing the evacuation of the smoke. Nowadays, there are very few mapuches living in Ruka. They have preferred to convert the mud in concrete floors, what is completely understandable.

Our Opinion.

In a general way, the culture got lost and most of the time the mapuches keep it for tourist purposes. Few of them keep the culture by desire. A major part have yield for the money forgetting their traditions and their roots. Clothes are carried to attract the enchanted tourist. Only the traditional cooking stays in the customs of the Mapuches.
Sad view on the culture in the streets of Ralco where you just have to walk a few meters to notice that the native culture is summarized in some bottles of Escudo or Crystal (local Beers). From the morning to the night, lost souls are walking around the streets, stumbling at every step in front of the numerous central bars. There are so many drunk people that we have the impression to watch a low quality movie about the return of zombies