The Lost Tribes
of Tierra del Fuego

Tierra del Fuego was named after the first European explorers sailed around the southern tip of the Americas in 1520. The Spanish Captain Magellan saw the many fires of the indigenous people burning in the distance, and labelled it “the land of fire”.

For seven thousand years, the Selk’nam, Yamana and Kawésqar people inhabited the forbidding archipelago of Southern Patagonia. Upon arrival of Europeans in the late 1800s, there were an estimated three thousand indigenous people living in Tierra del Fuego. By 1910 there were just hundred, and today there are none. The story is all too common amongst indigenous people around the world, whose culture and population was destroyed by colonisation.

German missionary Martin Gusinde made his first excursion to Tierra del Fuego in 1918. Although being a missionary Gusinde was very respectful and got deeply immersed within these societies through four long journeys, to the point of speaking their language, which enabled him to get access to their daily life and sacred rites. The photographic treasure he brought back is accompanied by field notes giving detailed information on the portrayed rites and the colors of the adornment.

Pictures taken from:
The lost tribes of Tierra del Fuego (2015)
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The lost tribes of Tierra del Fuego (2015)
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