The concept of aboriginal refers to someone or something originating from the soil in which they live. In this sense, you can name both a person (an Aboriginal tribe), an animal or a plant.
When the term refers to a person, it is used to name the primitive inhabitant of a territory, so it is opposed to those who later settled in the region.
The notion of aboriginal is used as a synonym for indigenous or native settlers. However, in its most specific sense, an indigenous person is a man belonging to an ethnic group that preserves traditional non-European culture. Generally, an indigenous person belongs to an organizational tradition prior to the emergence of the modern state.
On the other hand, American aborigines are often mistakenly called Indians; a confusion that arose when Europeans first came to America and believed they had arrived in India.
Different statistics indicate that, at present, there are about 350 million aborigines throughout the planet. While some communities assimilated many customs from the western world, others remain nomadic or maintain their ancestral ways of life. It is estimated that there are some 5,000 towns with their own linguistic and cultural peculiarities.
Aborigines have been discriminated against and persecuted by Europeans and descendants of Europeans, even long after the conquest of America. Proof of this is that, only in 2006, South America had its first indigenous president: Aymara Evo Morales, Bolivian Prime Minister.
The Mapuche people
The Mapuches are an aboriginal people that has occupied the borders between Argentine and Chilean territory since the 17th century. It is a culture with a high capacity for adaptation, which has managed to accommodate itself in the different territories, taking advantage of the resources that the soil has been offering them, and which have survived dozens of attempts at conquest, which are still ongoing.
For a long time they practiced nomadism and in its roots and traditions this practice was fundamental; However, for a century or so they have been kept in the same territory due to the expropriation that the various governments have made of Patagonia. Furthermore, the land they inhabit increasingly seems to shrink more and endangers their livelihood as a people.
It is important to note that, being a very old culture, they have their own calendar which is governed by the cycles of the earth and marks the various festivities. The year begins on June 24 because that day dawns after the longest night of the year has passed.
As for their beliefs, they are monotheistic. Nguenechen is the name of his god, he is the creator of everything that exists and who dominates the earth and brings life and fruitfulness to all nature. They feel a deep adoration for the land and they strictly respect its laws, without taking behavior that could affect the balance of the environment. The relationship they establish with the earth has a broad meaning, not only expressing a relationship linked to material subsistence but also implies their way of relating to supernatural forces.
It is an extremely rich and diverse culture that also has its own language, Mapudungun. It is made up of symbols and sounds that are transmitted from generation to generation orally and whose fundamental teaching resides in legends and mythological stories. It is worth mentioning that today there are Mapuche dictionaries, although the words are represented by the letters of the Spanish alphabet, combined with auxiliary signs that allow the sounds of this language to be reproduced, which differ in some cases from those of Spanish. A grafemario called Azümchefe has also been created, in which the 26 graphemes are represented through various signs, where 6 of them correspond to vowels and 20 to consonants.