Chile: One of the Last Kaweskars Dies

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Alberto Achacaz Walakial, one of the last surviving members of the nomadic Kaweskar tribe that once plied the waters off Chile's Patagonian coast, has died of blood poisoning, local media reported on Tuesday.

Government documents listed Achacaz's age at 79, but some believe he was close to 90.

Experts estimate that only about a dozen full-blooded Kaweskars — or Alacalufes — survive and the group appears destined to disappear in the near future as there are no women of fertile age left...

...About 6,000 years ago the Kaweskars inhabited the Patagonian channels and lived aboard their canoes. They were hunter-gatherers and ate mostly seafood and seabirds.

It was not until the middle of the 20th century when the Kaweskars began establishing campsites on firm land, in Puerto Eden, a town on the Patagonian island of Wellington.

Since the arrival of the first Europeans, Chile has lost five of its original 14 indigenous tribes to disease, displacement or the overuse of their natural resources.

Read entire article at AP

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