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Yagan people's cemetery, Bahía Mejillones - Isla Navarino - Chile

Rainer Krause

IILA - Italo-Latin American Institute - Biennale Arte 2015

IILA - Italo-Latin American Institute - Biennale Arte 2015

RAINER KRAUSE | CHILE
1957, Hoyerhagen, Germany. Lives and works in Santiago de Chile, Chile

Without title, 2014, sound installation
Courtesy: the artist

Ethnic group: Yagan
Language: Yagan (or yamana, also referred to in the literature as, Háusi Kúta, Inchikut, Tekeenika, Yahgan or Yappu)
Speaker: Cristina Calderón
Location: Puerto Williams, Isla Navarino, Chile
Population: 8 (as of 2011)
Level of extinction: considered to be an isolated language on the verge of extinction

The Yagan people arrived six thousand years ago to the islands between the Beagle Channel and Cape Horn. They were a nomadic seafaring people, who migrated using canoes close to the coasts of the islands, building temporary huts on the beaches and along the coastline of these islands. There was no government, nor social hierarchy beyond family ties. Food consisted mainly of mussels, fish, seals and whale meat. After the 18th century seal and whale hunters gradually began to erode their food supply. In the 19th century this tribe fell victim to multiple illnesses brought by European seal hunters, missionaries and gold prospectors which spread in epidemic proportions throughout the region. Whereas in 1850 the Yagan population reached 3,000, at the beginning of the 20th century it was reduced to a mere two hundred. According to information obtained in 2011, only eight pure race Yagan are alive today.

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  • Title: Yagan people's cemetery, Bahía Mejillones - Isla Navarino - Chile
  • Creator: Rainer Krause

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