Tierra del Fuego Natives / Indígenas de Tierra del Fuego
Photographs by anthropologist Martin Gusinde, dated 1923, showing Selk’nam tribe adolescents in body paint during Hain initiation ceremonies.
The Selk’nam lived on a diet of seafood and shellfish found along the shores of Southern Chile and Argentina. When European explorers passed through the Strait of Magellan, they noted billowing smoke from multiple Selk’nam campfires and, thus, named the island Tierra del Fuego or “Land of Fire.”
The native population collapsed soon after sheep ranchers and gold prospectors launched an extermination campaign against the tribe in the 19th century. The last remaining, full-blood Selk’nam died in 1974.
Tierra del Fuego, Argentina - © Diego Cupolo 2013