The Lost Tribes of Tierra del Fuego

The Lost Tribes of Tierra del Fuego

Selk’nam, Yamana, Kawésqar

  1. Photographs by Martin Gusinde
  2. Edited by Christine Barthe
  • ISBN 9780500544464
  • 31.00 x 24.50 cm
  • Hardback with tipped on duotone plate to front board (no jacket)
  • 300pp
  • Illustrated in duotone throughout
  • First published 2015

Martin Gusinde’s photographs are a monument to the memory of Tierra del Fuego’s people as well as an exceptional anthropological document


In 1919 Gusinde was sent as a missionary to Tierra del Fuego by his German congregation. While his mission was to convert the native peoples among whom he lived, the opposite took place: Gusinde became one of the first Westerners ever to be initiated into various sacred rites of the inhabitants of Tierra del Fuego.

During the course of four trips made between 1919 and 1924, from the canals of Western Patagonia to the great island of Tierra del Fuego, Gusinde learned and wrote about the Kawésqar, Yamana and Selk’nam peoples. He also took more than one thousand photographs, all produced using a portable darkroom.

He captured some truly extraordinary images: feather-clad bodies sporting high head-dresses made of bark, wrapped up in guanaco furs, or entirely covered with ritual paint, populating a landscape battered by wind, rain and snow, at the heart of a natural world that Darwin had noted for its wildness.

About the authors:
Martin Gusinde (1886–1969) was a German missionary who became a distinguished Americanist and ethnographer noted especially for his anthropological work on the native peoples of Tierra del Fuego.
Christine Barthe is director of the heritage unit of the photographic collections of the Musée du Quai Branly, Paris.
Marisol Palma Behnke is a historian and specialist in Latin American ethnographic photography.
Anne Chapman was an ethnologist who met and studied the last of the Selk’nam people.
Dominique Legoupil is a researcher at the French National Centre for Scientific Research.