Sunday, June 07, 2009

Extract from The Condor's Feather

In this extract, Thia Beserford comments on Kattn - the Tehuelche Indian girl who travels with them on their expedition:

‘Her heart is as deep and silent as the pampas,’ Thia said. ‘It is as though she is in tune with the vast countryside around her. A kind of innate animism which native people posses, which we civilized people seem to have lost.’
William had no answer. There was certainly something about this native Indian woman which he could not explain. Without meaning or intention, she attracted him like a pin to a magnet, yet she hardly ever spoke, showed little expression, even conserved her gestures to essential movements. She was as tall as a longbow and moved like a willow in the breeze. Was as strong as any man he knew and slightly taller than he. She was not beautiful by English standards with her plucked eyebrows and painted skin, but she had the elongated face and forehead of the high priestesses he had seen engraved on the walls of the ancient temples in Cairo. Now he wished he had drawn her portrait as he could never replicate it accurately. Yet her face was engrained in his mind and he knew he would never forget it.
The Tehuelches Indians territory was mainland Patagonia.
This old picture depicts a group of young Selk'nam indians (Onas) of Tierra del Fuego.
The Indians were usually naked despite the freezing condition on the island.
The natives of this region are now extinct.

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