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Zepherin Namuncura was born in Argentina in 1886, one of 12 children. His father was the Mapuche chief of the Araucanian-speaking Indians of the Argentine Pampas. A few years before Zepherin was born, his mother and several brothers and sisters were captured by European soldiers. In order to have them returned, Zepherin's father, Manuel, signed a treaty with the army.
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As part of the treaty, the tribe was sent high up in the Andes Mountains to live. Manuel, wanting to be sure his children and generations to come would have a secure future, decided that Zepherin would be raised as much like a European as possible. He had him baptized and gave him to a Salesian priest to educate and raise. Zepherin was also sent to military school, but he was mistreated by the other children there.


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