Araucania
Araucania is the name given to Chile's zone IX. The Spaniards called the people here Araucanos, after the stately aracauria trees. The Pehuenche of the area actually do take their name from the tree which they call the pewen. One of the main issues facing indigenous people here is agro-forestry. Over the past 40 or so years, much of this area has been planted with non indigenous species of California pine and eucalyptus. In many areas, these large forestry projects have choked out native plants and has had a devestating effect on the availability of native herbs and remedies. The struggle has turned into an ugly and sometimes violent confrontation. At least one young activist , 17-year-old Alex Lemun, has died from police gunfire. More than forty others remain in prison. Forestry company land and equipment has been subject to arson. We spent more than a week in Temuco waiting to speak with Aucan Wilkoman. Aucan is a werken (spokesman) for the Mapuche organization the Consejo de Todo Tierras. The Counsel is at the center of much of this controversy. We were promised an interview, but  unfortunately it never materialized. We were however able to film at a large local panificadora (bread bakery). We also interviewed a doctor who is director of both a local hospital that caters to the Mapuche community, as well as a pharmacy that dispenses native medicines. We also hired a small plane to have a closer look at the scope of agro-forestry in the region. We were amazed at what we saw.
Bread bakeries are one of the few jobs available to Mapuche men in many cities. 
Look mom I'm flying.
Just outside of  Temuco, the small town of Chol Chol hosts a museum that includes these examples of the traditional Mapuche home the ruka (below). Outside of museum displays this style of home scarcely exists any more.
Wooden wheeled oxcarts are, however, still common on the streets of Chol Chol.
(below)
We decided to head down to Pucon at the northern limits of Chile's lake district for a little relaxation before heading into Argentina. 
 
NEXT
DIRECTORY