Monday, August 16, 2010

Chile - Mapuche Lonko

This postcard shows Mapuche Lonko, the chief of a Mapuche community. He is plating the Kultrun, a holy ceremoonial drum. He is wearing Canelo branches on his head. The Canelo is a holy plant in Mapuche culture.

Sent by my great friend Hernán from Santiago in Chile.

This is from Wikipedia : The Mapuche are one of the indigenous inhabitants of south-central Chile and southwestern Argentina. Historically Mapuches were known as Araucanians (araucanos) by the Spaniards. This is now considered pejorative by some people. Mapuche make up about 4% of the Chilean population, who are particularly concentrated in the Araucania Region.

Contrary to popular belief, the Quechua word awqa "rebel, enemy", is probably not the root of araucano: the latter is more likely derived from the placename rag ko (Spanish Arauco) "clayey water".

The Mapuche traditional economy is based on agriculture; their traditional social organisation consists of extended families, under the direction of a "lonko" or chief, although in times of war they would unite in larger groupings and elect a toqui (from Mapudungun toki "axe, axe-bearer") to lead them.

The Mapuche are a wide-ranging ethnicity composed of various groups which shared a common social, religious and economic structure, as well as a common linguistic heritage. Their influence extended between the Aconcagua River and Chiloé Archipelago and later eastward to the Argentine pampa. The Mapuche (note that Mapuche can refer to the whole group of Picunches (people of the north), Huilliches and Moluche or Nguluche from Araucanía or exclusively to the Moluche or Nguluche from Araucanía) inhabited the valleys between the Itata and Toltén Rivers, as well as the Huilliche (people of the South), the Cuncos. In the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries Mapuches groups migrated eastward into the Andes and pampas fusing and establishing relationships with the Poyas and Pehuenche. At about the same time ethnic groups of the pampa regions, the Puelche, Ranqueles and northern Aonikenk, called Patagons by Ferdinand Magellan, known now as Tehuelche, made contact with Mapuche groups, adopting their language and some culture in what came to be called the Araucanization.

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