José Luis Vásquez Chogue, Secretary of the Corporation Selk’nam. This is the first time he has visited the land of his ancestors, the Tierra del Fuego. "It was an emotion and an energy that I had never lived. I tried to see and experience this place with the eyes of my grandfather". His grandfather was given up for adoption and was taken by a French family. He have been on a personal search for more than thirty years. Only three years ago they found out they were Selk’nam, when they saw their grandfather’s name in one of the Salesian birth records on Dawson Island. The recent journey of self-discovery as Selk’nam has also become a tour of endless meetings with Chilean politicians to incorporate the Selk’nam into Indigenous Law. The main objective is to have them known as alive Selk’nam, contrary to what is still taught. “It’s hard to say who I am, because the State doesn’t recognize us,” says José. Punta Arenas, Chile, 2021. Photo: Marcio Pimenta
Shoes worn by Selk'nam. This artifact is exposed and belongs to the Maggiorino Borgatello Museum, Punta Arenas, Chile. Punta Arenas, Chile, 2021. Photo: Marcio Pimenta Punta Arenas Chile
The Europeans brought horses and sheep. The way of life that required large areas of land caused conflict with the Selk'nam. Tierra del Fuego, Chile, 2021. Photo: Marcio Pimenta
A worker shears a sheep. Tierra del Fuego, Chile, 2021. Photo: Marcio Pimenta
I'm really thrilled to share with you that my work on the Selk'nam ethnicity in Patagonia - and which had the support of the Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting - is a finalist for the most important journalism award in Latin America, the Gabriel Garcia Marquez Award!