2016_12_1_foto-Who were the Onas o SelknamFar away in one of the most southern places of the planet, lies the great island of Tierra del Fuego (Land of Fire). This island was inhabited by a native tribe called the “Onas” or “Selknam”, that lived north of the Strait of Magellan. Their religion was polytheistic and they believed in some kind of heaven and hell.
Physically, the Onas or Selknam were very tall and hefty, a very strange characteristic considering that most native Americans from the south of the continent were distinctively short. They had an extraordinary resistance to cold weather and would sometimes be nude of half nude while practicing ceremonial rites. To protect themselves from extreme cold, they would wear the fat of animals they hunted, making a layer between their skin and the leather of the animal that they used as clothing.
In the 16th century, when Ferdinand Magellan was crossing the canal that would take his name, he and his crew saw a great number of columns of smoke coming from the southern lands of the canal. The smoke was provoked by bonfires used to keep and maintain fire. Taking care of fire was a women job while the men went hunting. This custom made the first conquerors name the land “Tierra del Fuego”, that means “Land of Fire”.