Ghosts at the Banquet
August 18, 2015 3:47 PM   Subscribe

Martin Gusinde documented the life and rituals of the Selk'nam people of Tierra del Fuego, off the southern tip of South America from 1918-24. They had been nearly wiped out by a genocide led by Julius Popper, the Tyrant of Tierra del Fuego, their numbers reduced from an estimated four thousand to only a few hundred. Now a book has been published containing hundreds of Gusinde's photos. Forty-five photos are available on the National Library of Chile's website. The last native speaker of Selk'nam, Herminia Vera Illioyen, died in 2014. That same year, linguist Luis Miguel Rojas-Berscia completed a reference grammar of Selk'nam. His friend Joubert Yanten Gomez, a young Selk'nam, has taught himself the language. Selk'nam and efforts to preserve it are one of the languages profiled in Judith Thurman's A Loss for Words, an essay about whether dying languages can be saved.
posted by Kattullus (5 comments total) 23 users marked this as a favorite
Wow, lots of nude and scantily clad folks for a place as cold and desolate as Tierra del Fuego. ..
posted by jim in austin at 4:17 PM on August 18, 2015

Tierra del Fuego will always be a Fletch joke in my heart.
posted by Brocktoon at 7:25 PM on August 18, 2015

Native South Americans, teepee type wooden dwelling, amazing.
posted by Oyéah at 9:25 PM on August 18, 2015

Every time I see a "Life and Rituals of the $UNUSUALNAME People" I always mentally read the name backwards to see if it's one of those Nacirema deals.

I don't recognize Man'kles, so I guess it's legit. Unless they're talking about man cankles.
posted by leotrotsky at 6:23 AM on August 19, 2015

Fuck. what is wrong with europeans.
posted by allthinky at 6:33 AM on August 19, 2015

« Older They're taking the Hobbits to Isengard   |   Chimpanzees and monkeys have entered the Stone Age Newer »

This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments