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Environmental Woes of Tierra del Fuego -- Indigenous Extinction

Unmarked graves at the Salesian mission in Río Grande, Argentina, echo the quick end met by Tierra del Fuego's four native ethnic groups after the arrival of seal oil and land hungry, disease-carrying Europeans and Americans. On his arrival in the 1870s, Anglican missionary Thomas Bridges estimated the Yamaná population at 3,000. Some dozen years later he closed the door of the mission and took up sheep ranching due to a lack of souls to be saved. By the 1920s, Fr. Martin Gusinde counted perhaps 40 Yamaná living traditionally. Today only two 70-year-old sisters claim to be full-blooded Yamaná. They are the last Fueguian Indians of any tribe.

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15Cemetery.jpg
Copyright
© Kevin Moloney, 2001
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4605x3041 / 3.2MB
Unmarked graves at the Salesian mission in Río Grande, Argentina, echo the quick end met by Tierra del Fuego's four native ethnic groups after the arrival of seal oil and land hungry, disease-carrying Europeans and Americans. On his arrival in the 1870s, Anglican missionary Thomas Bridges estimated the Yamaná population at 3,000. Some dozen years later he closed the door of the mission and took up sheep ranching due to a lack of souls to be saved. By the 1920s, Fr. Martin Gusinde counted perhaps 40 Yamaná living traditionally. Today only two 70-year-old sisters claim to be full-blooded Yamaná. They are the last Fueguian Indians of any tribe.