Sunday, January 16, 2011
Chile - Angela Loij
Tierra del Fuego. Angela Loij, joven Selk'nam (Ona).
Sent by Hernán, my great friend from Santiago, Chile.
"The Indians had been the owners of Tierra del Fuego for thousands of years. A hundred years ago the Selk'nam (Ona) numbered probably between 3,500 and 4,000. N.1 Now only a few remain whose mothers were Selk'nam. On 28 May 1974, one of the very last Selk'nam, Angela Loij, died.
Angela was born at the beginning of the century. By then most of the Selk'nam had been killed by the Whites and or had died from sicknesses which they had brought to the island. And even after she was born others died in the country-side and in the two Salesian missions (on Dawson Island and in Tierra del Fuego, near the town of Río Grande). Angela was born north of Río Grande, on a sheep farm which still exists called Estancia Sara. She often told me about her family. Her father, Loij, who worked as a peon, mostly fencing in the fields where the sheep grazed. Her two sisters died as children on the Sara farm. Her mother, another sister and her two brothers died in the Salesian mission near Río Grande. One of her brothers, Pascual, about twelve years old then, used to say: "I like to study. I want to learn everything." Angela commented: "He already knew how to read when he died." Of her four sisters, Teresa, only one who lived to be old enough to marry and have children. Teresa's grand-daughter, Ermerlinda (who now lives in Ushuaia) was very much loved by Angela." (read more)