The Fireland Indians: Vol. 1. The Selk'nam, on the life and thought of a hunting people of the Great Island of Tierra del Fuego

Verlag der Internationalen ZeitschriftMödling Bei Wien • Published In 1931 • Pages: 32, 1176 , 51 plates

By: Gusinde, Martin, Schütze, Frieda.

This monograph is a detailed description of the entire Ona culture, including a survey of the early European contacts (explorers, missionaries, adventurers, and sheepherders) and a critical review (including lengthly quotes) of previously published materials on the Ona. A short review of the little-known prehistory (much based upon Gusinde's own collecting) is followed by a precise description of the Ona in the early 1920's, based upon Gusinde's four field trips; the material, social and spiritual aspects are fully covered. By co-ordinating the historical accounts, ethnohistorical accounts (through mythology) and his own observations and interview materials, Gusinde analyzes the patterns of continuity and change within the Ona culture. Throughout, Gusinde emphasizes the effects of population decrease on maintenance of the traditional culture. Comparisons between the Haush, northern and southern Selk'nam are made, as well as occasional comparisons with the Yahgan and Alacaluf.
HRAF PubDate
South America
Sub Region
Southern South America
Document Type
Creator Types
Document Rating
4: Excellent Secondary Data
5: Excellent Primary Data
Sarah T. Bridges ; John M. Beierle ; 1973
Field Date
Coverage Date
not specified
Coverage Place
Tierra del Fuego, South America
Martin Gusinde
Translation of: Die Feuerland Indianer. Band 1. Die Selk'nam; vom Leben und Denken eines Jägervolkes auf der grossen Feuerlandinsel.
The original German text is not included
Includes bibliographical references (p. 1659-1666)
Translated for the HRAF files by Frieda Schütze.
Not translated for the Files: list of contributors who made printing of the work possible [pp. xi-xii in original text] and index
Ona Indians