Map of Argentina and Chile
The Yamana indians The Yamana indians The Yamana indians

The Yamana indians (Yagán)

The Yamana, unable to join a group, "returns home happily, to his independent and wanderer life". The people from Tierra del Fuego were the shortest, between 1.44 and 1.64 m. Unlike their weak legs, their torso, shoulders and arms were very well developed. They were not used to the fact that in the Earth one has to step on one leg first and then to change to the other. They were clumsy, uncomfortable, restless, unable to stay still and walked leaned over. They used harpoons, spears and slings, although they were not very skilled with the latter. They did not use the bow. They used mollusks not only as food but also as a material to make tools. In spite of the fact that none of the different indigenous peoples from Tierra del Fuego neither practiced pottery nor made fabrics, the Yamanas were the best at weaving baskets.

yamana indians
As the Alakalufs, the Yamanas kept constantly a fire on their canoes (over some sand), due to the fact that if the fire went out, there was a risk of dying of cold. So when they were on land, their first task was to light the fire. When a woman gives birth to a girl, the mother takes the baby on her back the following day and walks into the water up to her neck, even during the most severe winter. As the Alakalufes women, only the yamana women can swim and drive the canoe.

Nearly 32,000 Yagán words have been compiled. Its richness is surprising due not only to the vocabulary but also to the grammar. The Yagans had nearly five words for the term "snow". They had even more for "beach", the choice depending on several factors: the location of the beach as regards the speaker, the existence of earth or water between the speaker and the beach as well as its orientation. The meaning of the same words varied according to the place, thus, a word uttered at a canoe to describe an object had a different meaning than when uttered on land. The verb system was also very rich: ata, to lift something with the hands, mnikata, to rise the arms, kumata, to lift an object with the end of another, gaiata, to lift an object with the tip of another, mulata, to rise an object with two fingers shaped as a cup... As its language, the Yamanas mythology shows an incredible richness, diversity, fantasy and quality, especially taking into account their rudimentary material and handcraft culture.

Previous article: A volcano and three salt flats
Next article: The Pachamama (Mother Earth)
Travel to Peru and Bolivia See also the Journey to Peru and Bolivia ...


Patagonia in all seasons menu. For example, according to the climate, from Bariloche, in Patagonia Argentina, it is possible to go to Puerto Montt, in Chile, crossing successively three lakes by boat, as did the Jesuits and the first German settlers. I offer a tour that leads to the Pacific Ocean. It is quite long, but the beauty of the sites - forests, volcanoes and crystalline lakes - is such that it is worth to be carried. The Argentine side, cross the west arm of Nahuel Huapi and Lake Puerto Alegre and, the chilen side, Lake Todos los Santos. Moving from one lake to another by bus. This tour is feasible in all seasons, but in winter, it takes two days to reach Puerto Montt, stopping for one night at Peulla. We returned to Bariloche by air or by the same way, after a night in Puerto Montt. Borispatagonia is also responsible for visas to go to Chile and to book hotels. In Patagonia, winter and summer are tourist seasons. In summer, besides explore the surrounding, many activities are available: climbing, torrent fishing, sailing, horseback riding, hiking, rides, visits to Aciendas... In winter, the main activity is, of course, skiing, especially in July and August on the side of the Andes, but not only: snowshoe hikes, thematic tours, many walks to admire the beauty of Patagonia Argentina and Chile in this season, due a unique light, the warmth of the people of Patagonia... Just to talk about, I get goose bumps!