Museo Chileno de Arte Precolombino

Cultures > Southern > Terrestrial hunters of the far south of Chile


After arriving in these regions during the Paleo-Indian period, the inland hunters of Chile’s far southern regions adapted to the steppe environment in ways that allowed their continuing habitation of these rugged lands for thousands of years. The limitations of a nomadic way of life, the immense size of the territory, and the many natural barriers gradually led to the separation of cultural traditions, with different group identities developing as the groups maintained social relations and entered into marriage alliances with neighboring tribes. At the time of the first contact with Europeans, the steppes of Eastern Patagonia were inhabited by the Aónikenk people, while the southern steppes and woodlands of Tierra del Fuego were home to the Selk’nam.