Kiepja Lola Kiepja


Kiepja was the last shaman of the Selk´nam tribe. She survived the white-man's expel and massacre of the Indians who had lived in Tierra del Fuego for over 10 000 years. Selk´nam and other tribes in Tierra del Fuego were exterminated in a couple of decades. Those who didn't die in fights with the white occupants were either murdered, subjected to mass-slaughter or they died in big epidemics brought by the white-man.

Kiepja died 1966, 90 years old. She survived all her 12 children. She was the last Selk´nam who had lived the traditional way of life and she had the knowledge about the rites, ceremonies and songs. Though she had learnt the white-man's language, she preferred to talk her mother tongue. She had inherited her skills from older relatives and shamans who knew the rites and ceremonies.

Today our knowledge about the exterminated people of Tierra del Fuego is built upon material collected, interpreted and supplied by the white-man.