The first Mapuche inhabitants settled in these lands, managed to understand and explain that the existence and life of the che (person) was given to us by and from the earth, that is, our mongen (existence) and origin was provided to us by the ñuke mapu (Mother earth), all the while sheltered and nourished by it, as it was in the beginning and it is today. Our grandparents and elders of the Mapuche communities say “Mapumeu ta llegiyiñ, mapu ta choyüeiñmeu fei meu mapuchengeiñ (born of the earth, from the earth we sprout that is why we are Mapuche ).”
Faced with the above, our grandparents took their only reason for being “the maintenance of balance and harmony” with them and with our environment.
Therefore the Mapuche concept is the sum of: Mapu + Che = Mapuche
To get to the definition described above, certainly the first Mapuche inhabitants have had to analyze and study every natural phenomenon, its change, movement, disturbance, evolution, etc.., as seen in the case of the sun, moon, stars, night, day, year stages and how these changes occur, balances and changes in the earth, nature, people, animals, plants etc. Precisely this understanding and coexistence, and the interaction between the various living and non-living things, led the first Mapuche to determine an internal system as a group or cultural entity and create or build rules and / or systems that allow them to sort and organize their individual and collective world in the need to maintain permanent encounter, coexistence and harmonious and balanced relationships with all beings with which cohabit the earth.
Since the CHE (human, member of the Mapuche culture and nation), is considered a component of nature and the universe, though with a certain privilege in relation to the other components of nature (animals, plants, insects etc.. ), because it is rational, has Rakiduam – thinking and ability to accumulate Kimün – knowledge and wisdom, is also able to perceive actions that go against and for the benefit of its environment and of itself (This privilege being a gift of nature itself). In this scenario – Mapuche – define their individual and collective role.
As individuals, Mapu-che self-define as a person who is part of the universe (natural and spiritual world), belonging to and property of the land and nature and as such is responsible for care, protect, respect, love and project to each of the elements they incorporate, so that they self-impose rules and define their individual responsibility to protect and maintain balance and well-being of the components of nature from and to the extent of their sight, which is called wall-mapu the horizon or circular ground plane.
In that way the CHE transforms himself into a being capable of locating himself in the permanent centre of action of his world, by which in the same way he takes on a mission of protection and care for all of his surroundings from the nearest to the furthest circle. This does not mean that the Mapuche is ego-centric; rather they seek their responsibility to the other components of the network they belong to, so that they can stay in harmony and balance, and also because the cosmic law itself imposes and require.
In another sense, the che or Mapu-che being integral to the nature and outcome of the merger between ENERGY and MATTER, also possesses and brings strengths that balance, that is, is also composed of the küme newen and weda newen (positive and negative energies ), which allows them to stay in balance, but that balance is when they and all their natural environment are in equilibrium, that is, that the che (Human) is in balance and harmony, and must necessarily be in balance and harmony with the natural world, its social, cultural, territorial, environmental aspects; but it is also essential to balance the spiritual world, which this leads to balance mind, body and emotions, that is, is a complete being, in perfect balance and harmony, and to that extent is able to care and provide health and welfare to everything around.
Perhaps this is the reason that the CHE called itself Mapu-che, because self-assumed responsibility of being a member and son of the earth and nature, thus a brother to all those who compose them, in turn assuming the responsibility for protection thereof. In this regard the CHE endeavors to maintain and permanently restore the balance and harmony in the Mapuche universe, for there the küme felen (the integral balance) with all forms of life that it sustains and prevents transgresses and transgressing the natural law (or cosmic law ).
In the spiritual world, CHE conceives a higher power that controls, protects and guides, which is both the protector and giver of life and is called Elchen (which created or permitted the existence of che) and ngünechen (the holding and permits continuity). However this entity called Elchen-ngünechen , is nothing but COSMIC ENERGY which is materialized as NGÜNECHEN, giver and protector of che’s life. COSMIC ENERGY or NEWEN being energy merges with matter and as a result of the merger, it is materialized, or embodied, making visible forms or aspects of nature, animals, birds, old people or children, swirls etc. So there are in nature protective spirits who are called NGEN. Moreover, these ngen occur commonly in the space they live, permitting the order and welfare of the people living there together with the other components of the universe.
Considering the above, the CHE settles, organizes and forms the family nucleus, by adapting to space and natural means, assumes the regulations, order and dynamics of the earth and nature, building a unique style and particular way of life on the planet.
This certainly explains that the ad-mongen, or social, cultural, and spiritual life, and the system of structural organization established by the Mapuche ancestors, are directly related to places or geographical areas where each lofche (family organization) lived by chance or chose to settle; therefore the determinants of type or mode of spiritual, cultural, social and political relations given in each locality or sector relative, obey the rules and regulations that are required and imposed naturally and by the cosmos. Thus was born the Mapuche culture.
Reason for this then the CULTURE is the answer that the environment or habitat demands of, imposes on and uses to shape its inhabitants; in the case of the Mapuche culture, this is a true reflection of the lifestyle and how the very nature and the environment in the Southern Hemisphere is organized, related, lives and projects, influenced by the other components of the universe such as the constellations, stars, sun, moon, wind etc. (lükai, namun-choike, luan, yepun, ngau-poñi, llepü, leufü, wüñelfe). But they are also controlled by the spirits that inhabit them, giving them full compliance with the requirements established by the cosmos and spiritual beings, conceived by our Mapuche ancestors, since ancient times.