martes, 26 de agosto de 2014

Selk'nam chants of Tierra del Fuego, Argentina. By Lola Kiepja (1982)


Since long time ago I'm obsessed with the Selk'nam culture, and since I found this album my fascination was even greater.
The Selk'nam people were an Amerindian village located in the north of Isla Grande de Tierra del Fuego, at the southernmost tip of the American continent. Originally, they were land nomads, hunters and gatherers. Possibly today this ethnic group is only represented by mixed descendants, who after a process of acculturation that operated for over a century, are completely acculturated.
 The contact with the white man had devastating consequences for this ethnic group, as well as transmitting contagious diseases, displaced from their hunting. In 1881 it was around 4000-5000 individuals.
In 1883 has started the farm exploitation with the grant by the Chilean government. In 1887 reached the miners in search of gold to the northern sector of the island. 
In 1888 a Salesian mission was established in Dawson Island in order to evangelize and civilize the natives. In 1891 the population had decreased to no more than 2000 people.
In 1895 ranchers reached an agreement with the Salesian mission of Dawson Island, would pay one pound for every Indian held in the mission. With over 800 years came to Dawson Island most dying by changing lifestyle idle inactivity and disease. In 1974 died the last pure representative of this ethnic group, "Angela Loij". 
The album I'm sharing here was managed by the French ethnologist "Anne Chapman". She accomplished contact in 1964 with "Lola Kiepja" (one of the last Selk'nam indians) and transmitted the importance of recording her testimony. So Lola sang for posterity 47 chants with no musical instruments, without any sort of accompaniment like the traditional Selk'nam 's way. She died two years later.

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