The Fuegians

Fuegians are the original inhabitants of Tierra del Fuego, a location at the tip of South America. It's English and Spanish meanings vary with the English reference being biased towards the original inhabitants of Tierra del Fuego and the Spanish variant referring to the people, generally, who hail from the archipelago (Weber). The native Fuegians comprise several tribes which include the Ona, Haush, Yaghan and Alacaluf. But for the Ona, who lived in the interior and thrived on hunting, all the other tribes lived exclusively in the coastal regions. They had several languages which included Kawesqar and Yaghan for all the tribes and Chon for the Ona, a dialect they adopted from the mainland peoples. Fuegian languages are all extinct, except for the Yaghan and the Kawesqar languages.
When the Europeans, Argentines, and Chileans invaded South America in search for markets and resources in the nineteenth century, they brought with them diseases such as small pox and measles to which the Fuegians had no immunity. These diseases devastated their numbers and killed them on massive scales, reducing them to a few hundred survivors by mid- twentieth century. The last full-blooded Fuegian died in 1999, meaning that all the original natives have all been wiped out.
Some researchers are of the opinion that Fuegians might have descended from Australian roots as they are physically, culturally, and linguistically different from Native Americans. The credibility of this assumption draws from the fact that Australian Aboriginals are thought to have colonized the area before the Mongoloid Amerindians (American-Indians) did (Fuego). For example, Fuegians paint and tattoo their bodies in designs and patterns similar to those of the aborigines. The Fuegians, like the aborigines, were also taller than the Amerindians who inhabited the area. Contemporary research suggests that present day Fuegians have intermixed through marriages with other native…