Tierra del Fuego’s Lost world

5 09 2016


One of the amazing images from a new book called “Hain” about the Selknam people, now sadly lost to the world, who lived on the frigid Chilean and Argentinian island of Tierra del Fuego. Only coming into contact with Europeans in the nineteenth century, the Selknam are now considered to be a vanished people although a tiny number of their mixed-race descendants have survived and still speak their language. The Selknam practiced elaborate male initiation rituals called “Hain” featuring masks and ritualistic body painting, one of which was photographed in 1919.

The Selknam had been mercilessly persecuted by local ranch-owners who paid a sum for each indigenous person killed, and forcibly relocated to prison-like concentration camps, as well as suffering from exposure to alcohol and Western diseases.






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