selk’nam: they were people once


“The Ona believe that all the stars were once persons but they only have the names and histories of some 20 or 30. Insects, birds, all animals, except foxes and dogs, mountains, cliffs, rocks, almost every thing that has a name, except their tools and the smaller plants, were once people. The wind Sinu for instance was a great man, his wife was the whale Ohchin, one of their daughters Sinu K-Tam is the hummingbird. I have seen an Ona pick up a small beetle from a path and put it on a branch so that it should not be trodden on because it was a good doctor when it was a man.”

Lucas Bridges, “Uttermost Part of the Earth”, 1949

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