The Pehuenches
Indigenous people
The Pehuenches are a mountain indigenous people who are part of the Mapuche culture and live on both sides of the Andes mountain range in central-southern Chile and southwestern Argentina.

It is usually characterized by basing its food on the collection of piñones, pehuén seeds (araucaria), which grows mainly at more than 1000 meters above sea level.

The current Pehuenches are identified as the population of Mapuche culture that lives exclusively on the banks of the upper Biobío River in the mountainous area of the 8th Region of Biobío, in the Lonquimay area and in the 9th Region of the Araucanía of Chile. In Argentina there are small groups of pehuenches in the Malargüe department (Mendoza province) and in an isolated manner in Arroyo Los Berros, Valcheta department (Río Negro province). The Pehuenche Zonal Council groups the main Argentine group in Aluminé (in the province of Neuquén).

Its ancestral territory covered Chile from the snow-capped Chillán in the north to the Llaima volcano in the south, they could be found sporadically in the north to the Maule River. In Argentina they stretched from the Diamante River to the north to Lake Aluminé to the south. They moved to the valleys in winter and climbed to higher places in summer, where they generally collected piñones between March and May.

Their self-designation and original language have not been preserved, although it is known that they were part of the group of Huarpes before their complete araucanization, and like them, they were tall, thin and dark skinned. By the middle of the 18th century all Pehuenche spoke the Mapudungún language, although their cultural assimilation by the Araucanos was not complete until the middle of the 19th century. By the 16th century, the Araucanos called them pehuenches, and the territory they inhabited was the butalmapu known as Pewenmapu ('land of the araucarias') or Piremapu ('land of the snows'). The lands to the east of the Andes were called Puelmapu ('land of the east').