Contemporary Perspectives on the Native Peoples of Pampa, Patagonia, and Tierra del Fuego: Living on the Edge

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The regions and the people of the southern cone of South America have been identified as wild and at the edge of the world. This compilation of research by scholars, many of whom are members of the Argentine Academia, effectively summarizes the struggle of the Mapuche, Tehuelche, Rankuelche, and Selk'nam peoples for a continued sense of cultural identity distinct from the one of inferiority foisted upon them by Spanish conquerors centuries ago. The native peoples of Pampa, Patagonia, and Tierra del Fuego on Argentina's southern cone are shown to be a dynamic people whose remarkable resilience and cultural survival has led them to a place in contemporary politics. Research exploring important current issues such as nationism and interethnic relations is included. Chapters address the seizure of Indian lands by the Spanish, selective policies of inclusion and exclusion, ethnocide and paternalism. The atrocities and injustices committed against these peoples reflect the experience of indigenous peoples all over the world. However, even in the face of adversity, the Mapuche, Tehuelche, Rankuelche, and Selk'nam peoples have maintained a sense of cultural difference, and they play a vital role in the culture and politics of the region.