For my interview with a Mapuche individual I could not find anyone who would resound to me on any social media. Therefore, I have a distant friend who’s father was born and spent most of his child and teen years living in Chile. He lived in Coquimbo which is just north of where the Mapuche claim residency. He had met a lot of Mapuche individuals and knew the culture pretty well. I chose to interview him because he knew the answers to the questions I was curious about.
The first question I asked was if the Mapuche people are still living in teepee and in poverty? He replied with yes and no. Most of the people of the Mapuche culture have moved to more urban areas to find better jobs and make a better living. They were not making enough money just trying to live off the land and selling the goods they made. Even though most have become more developed, some have stuck to the traditional ways of living off the land and getting by with whatever they can. Some refuse to give into what the government wants and want to remain true to their culture.
The next question I asked was about marriage. When I was researching I did not find a lot about marriage within the Mapuche culture so I was curious about the traditions. He told me that from what he knows, marriage is a lot about power. The male steals his wife during the night and then makes sure she is a good match for him. If he wants her the male and females families come together and discuss a price for the new bride. Then during the wedding ceremony they get married on the brides land and then the celebration is on the males land, which could last up to 3 or 4 days. He also told me that the male was allowed to have more then one wife but the first wife always had the most power over the rest.
The next and final questions I asked him was about children and child birth. He did not know a lot about the birthing process but he did know about the power that came along with each child. Once the wife is pregnant she gains more power within the husbands family, before kids she does not have much power. The more kids you have the more power you gain from each child. If they have a girl it is welcomed into the family but if there is a male born then that calls for a celebration. Also if the women has a child that lives longer then an infant that is also praised and lets them gain more power as well.
I enjoyed finding out new information about the culture I have been researching. It was fun to get another person perspective of the culture especially someone who grew up very close to the area and the people.