Mapuche, Araucanian in Chile

Main Language
Largest Religion
Progress Gauge

Introduction / History

"Mapuche" comes from "mapu" (land or earth), and "che" (people). Thus they are "the people of the earth". The Mapuche culture first appeared in the South of Chile, in the province of Araucania, with the so-called Araucanians, in time unknown. In the 16th and 17th Centuries they stopped the advance of the Incas and conquered a big portion of the Patagonia (includes some regions of Chile, the provinces of Rio Negro, Neuquen and parts of La Pampa, Mendoza and Chubut) and the South of the province of Buenos Aires; spreading their language and culture. When the Spaniards arrived, the Mapuche strongly opposed them, refusing to be conquered as other peoples had been, and deprived of their lands and homes. They took advantage of the horses the Spaniards had brought with them and mastered the art of riding. They also helped Argentina and Chile free themselves from Spain. They held a long resistance to the advance of the "criollos" and landowners. Often they were accused of being violent and savage, most of the times without foundation. Only in 1879, about 300 years later to the arrival of the conquerors, were the Mapuche defeated. They fought until the end, until there was no more hope. And then they fought some more. They are a good and brave people.

Where Are they Located?

Today they live in the southern regions of Chile and in the Argentinean provinces of Chubut, Neuquen, Rio Negro, La Pampa and South of Buenos Aires and Mendoza. Mainly, they have been stripped of their lands, and placed in miserable reservations, often with really bad natural resources. They still fight and hold a campaign for the preservation of their homes and their cultural heritage. Most of their lands were sold to international companies or private buyers who build luxury hotels or badly exploit the natural resources.

What Are Their Lives Like?

Many of them have become activists for the protection of their rights, and some are in jail for that. They are losing their language and many of the younger generation don't speak it. Their well-known and difficult art of loom-knitting is also being lost, as most daughters don't learn it anymore. Most Mapuche live in reservations, but many have fled to the cities for better jobs and education where they often deny their origins.

What Are Their Beliefs?

Some are Roman-Catholics, mostly nominally. But most still hold the traditional rites and beliefs. Mainly they believe that there is a god called "Nguenechen", literally "the owner of people", and make collective prayers and rituals, called "rogativas". In each tribe there is a "machi", a kind of witch-doctor. They believe that every tree, animal, river, etc. has a divine spirit which they worship.

What Are Their Needs?

They need to be able to keep their culture and language. They need to be embraced by the true love of God, and learn that He is the only true One.

Prayer Points

* Scripture Prayers for the Mapuche, Araucanian in Chile.

* Pray that God will have compassion on them and raise missionaries who will teach them the Gospel without cultural connotations and stand side by side with them in their happiness and sorrows.

Profile Source:   Anonymous  

People Name General Mapuche
People Name in Country Mapuche, Araucanian
Population this Country 1,615,000
Population all Countries 1,749,000
Total Countries 2
Indigenous Yes
Progress Scale 5
Unreached No
Frontier People Group No
GSEC 4  (per
Pioneer Workers Needed
Alternate Names Araucanian; Mapudungun
People ID 13526
ROP3 Code 106296
Country Chile
Region America, Latin
Continent South America
10/40 Window No
National Bible Society Website
Persecution Rank Not ranked
Location in Country Araucanía, Bíobío, Los Lagos, and Los Ríos regions: Arauco, Bíobío, Valdivia, Osorno.   Source:  Ethnologue 2016
Country Chile
Region America, Latin
Continent South America
10/40 Window No
National Bible Society Website
Persecution Rank Not ranked
Location in Country Araucanía, Bíobío, Los Lagos, and Los Ríos regions: Arauco, Bíobío, Valdivia, Osorno..   Source:  Ethnologue 2016
Primary Language Mapudungun
Language Code arn   Ethnologue Listing
Language Written Yes   ScriptSource Listing
Total Languages 2
Secondary Languages
Primary Language Mapudungun
Language Code arn   Ethnologue Listing
Total Languages 2
Secondary Languages
People Groups Speaking Mapudungun

Primary Language:  Mapudungun

Bible Translation Status  (Years)
Bible-Portions Yes  (1901-1930)
Bible-New Testament Yes  (1997-2011)
Bible-Complete No
Bible-NT Audio Online
Bible-NT Text Online
Possible Print Bibles
World Bibles
Forum Bible Agencies
National Bible Societies
World Bible Finder
Virtual Storehouse
Resource Type Resource Name
Audio Recordings Audio Bible teaching (GRN)
Audio Recordings Online New Testament (FCBH)
Film / Video God's Story Video
Film / Video Jesus Film: view in Mapudungun
Mobile App Download Audio Bible app as APK File from FCBH
Text / Printed Matter Bible: Mapudungun New Testament
Text / Printed Matter Bible: Ngünechen ñi Küme Dungu
Text / Printed Matter Download scripture in this language
Text / Printed Matter Online Bible text (Scripture Earth)
Primary Religion: Christianity
Religion Subdivision: Roman Catholic
Major Religion Percent
0.00 %
Christianity  (Evangelical 29.42 %)
70.00 %
Ethnic Religions
20.00 %
0.00 %
0.00 %
9.00 %
Other / Small
1.00 %
0.00 %
Christian Segments Percent
2.0 %
17.0 %
0.0 %
Other Christian
0.0 %
7.0 %
Roman Catholic
74.0 %
Photo Source Andy McCullough 
Map Source Wart Dark  
Profile Source Anonymous  
Data Sources Data is compiled from various sources. Read more


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