Mapuche Community history (mapu=earth, che=people) starting
from the XV century it's a
fight, slavery and escape for the survival history.
Their origin is in araucanos natives in Chilean side of
mountain range. They gave great work to Valdivia (century
XVI) in his intent to conquer the territories of the south.
Also it's believed that they were the people that more fight
gave and more difficult of defeating of all America.
Araucanos or mapuches resisting the attack of Spanish
conquerors put on in more flowing contact (because they
already had it) with their transandean brothers pehuenches,
to trade with pampas or puelches (puel=east, che=people)
with those who exchange fabrics and wheat for horses
(necessary to face their powerful rival) and salt.
Pehuenches traveled the mountain range of Argentinean side
helping in the surveillance because they resided in border
These populations that differed in their origins, language,
features, etc., through the years contact and exchange are
homogenized under the language
mapuche (mapundungun), customs, etc., occurring a
process (begun in the XVI century) of
araucanización or mapuchización.
In Argentina Mapuche population was established in several
provinces being in total around 70 or 90 thousand. However
most was in Neuquén province (together with part of Río
Negro province) where there were around 30 or 40 thousand
Today they are very few mapuches in the region since their
decimated, murdered, enslaved and assimilated to the
From the year 1878 J. A. Roca begin "Conquers of the Desert"
that will last until the years 1883, when it's achieved the
"pacification" and incorporation of Neuquén to national
territory. But it's in this first campaign that the area of
the north of Neuquén province is occupied because of that
some tribes surrender and others escape to Chile. This fact
is of relevance for the area of Villa Pehuenia and
surroundings because mapuches that inhabit the region are
the descendants of those that had escaped to Chile that
returned to their origin place.
During these years they occur several lunges against mapuches
being also the combats very bloody. Two important combats
that were carried out to few kilometers of where the Villa
is today they are: "Pulmary" and "Pino Hachado." Peña
Haichol combat was the famous defeat of
cacique Purrán that escape with few survivors
through a hidden hole in an area of big pehuenes ignored by
huincas (white people). The name - "Pino Hachado" -
it's due to that the Army in indigenous persecution
demolishes a pine like guide for their return. Curiosity:
the pine was kept by the residents during years and burnt in
On the other hand the area in that Villa Pehuenia is located
at the moment was the historical place of the live stock
summer position of mapuches communities. It's at the end of
XIX century that settles definitively in the place
Puel Mapuche Community that is at the moment in the
area in the surroundings of Mahuida Batea volcano and in La
Angostura of Aluminé and Moquehue lakes. While
Plácido Puel Mapuche Community is located on the coast
of Aluminé lake. Among so much
Catalán Mapuche Community is located in the outskirts
of the Villa.