Fertility, mortality and migration data from four Mapuche Indian communities located along a 215-km NE-SW linear area in the Province of Río Negro, Argentina, were collated with genetic information furnished by nine blood group systems and by mtDNA haplogroups. The demographic and genetic data indicated a clear dichotomy, which split the four populations into two groups of two. Differing degrees of non-Indian exchanges was probably the main determining factor for this separation. Total genetic variability was very similar in all groups, and the interpopulational variability accounted for only 10% of the total variability. A low prevalence of the Diego(a) antigen among the Mapuche was confirmed. The fact that significant genetic heterogeneity and population clusters were found in such a small territorial region attests to the sensitivity of demographic and genetic approaches in unraveling human history.