Chile repatriates tribal remains from Zurich – zufällig darauf gestossen. Die Geschichte ist dann beim Zügeln des Bloges auf seltsame Weise verschwunden

Darum hier die Recherchen von 2010, nochmal neu zusammengestellt. Leider sind fast alle Quellen auf Englich.

These five members of the Kawesqar tribe, which is home in Tierra del Fuego in Chile’s far south, were kidnapped in 1881 and sent to Europe to be displayed in “human zoos.” The five died in Zürich a year after their capture. Their remains were only just returned to Chile on Tuesday.

Ureinwohner / Chile / Kawesqar


January 12, 2010

SANTIAGO, Chile—The remains of five Indians from a tribe in southern Chile have been repatriated from Europe more than a century after they were taken away to be displayed as curiosities.

President Michelle Bachelet received the Kawesqar Indians with military honors Tuesday. The bodies are being flown to the Kawesqar community on a frigid island near the southern tip of South America at ancestral hunting and fishing grounds of the once nomadic Indians.

Bachelet apologized for the complicity of Chilean authorities in a German expedition that took 11 Kawesqar in 1881 to Europe to appear what is now described as a human zoo.The remains arriving in Chile are of five of the Indians who died in 1882 in Zurich, Switzerland. schrieb dann kurze Zeit darauf mehr darüber:

January 18, 2010

The remains of five Chilean tribesmen have been repatriated from Switzerland more than a century after they were kidnapped to be exhibited at European fairs.
The five Kawésqar from southern Chile were honoured at a ceremony in Chile on January 13 after their remains were flown back home. Documentary filmmakers found their bones at Zurich University in 2008.

The story dates back to 1881 when 11 natives were kidnapped in Tierra del Fuego by German businessman Carl Hagenbeck, who took them from South America to Europe to be put on show as curiosities in circuses and fairs in France, Germany and Switzerland.

Shortly after being captured they were displayed in Paris and later that year at Berlin’s zoo, as well as in Leipzig, Munich, Stuttgart, Nuremberg and Zurich.
These shows exhibited native groups from Africa or Patagonia just like animals, Walter Fuchs, an anthropology professor at Zurich University, told

“The Kawésqar Indians arrived here [in Zurich] in 1882, but they fell ill and, despite receiving Swiss medical assistance, five of them died from pneumonia and measles.”

Identification of remains

Their remains were stored among a huge collection kept at Zurich University’s Anthropological Institute and were recently identified by Swiss anthropologist Christoph Zollikofer. The other six Kawésqars were eventually allowed to return to Chile but one died during the voyage home.

“This is rather unusual as most of these remains are anonymous. Many are from the 19th and 20th centuries. The Kawésqar Indian remains were identified in detail because they had names to locate them,” said Fuchs.

Henry, Lise, Grethe, Piskouna and Capitán – the names given to them by their captors – belonged to a sea-faring tribe from southern Chile which is almost extinct but famed for braving the icy-cold waters of Patagonia.

Zollikofer, who accompanied the remains back to Chile together with his colleague Marcia Ponce de León, backed their identification and repatriation on condition they be handed back to the descendants of the Kawésqar.

Official ceremony

On Tuesday, the remains of five of these people were returned to Chile from Switzerland with Chilean President Michelle Bachelet receiving representatives of Chile’s various indigenous communities carrying the remains in caskets.

“There are more of our people left outside the country, and we are hoping for the support of the government … to be able to bring back the rest of the people,” said Kawésqar descendent Haydee Aguilera.

Bachelet apologised to the descendants saying the country had been guilty of “neglect in the face of such abuses”. She added that the episode was a dark page in Chile’s history.

“Reading the history of these indigenous families from southern Chile, whose remains we are receiving today, there is no doubt that this was an act of barbarity,” Bachelet said.

“The kidnapping at the end of the 19th-century of indigenous families from the southernmost part of the country, to be taken to Europe to be exhibited in human zoos or international fairs is really a dark page in our history.”

Traditional burial

The bodies were flown to the southern city of Punta Arenas and will be taken to Karukinká island on Tierra del Fuego for a traditional burial in what could be one of the last ceremonial burials of the Kawésqar people.

“This island was chosen because it is the closest to the one they were taken from,” Celina Llanllán, a member of the Kawésqar community told the El Mercurio newspaper.

One of the oldest indigenous artisans in the region, Rosa Catalán, 70, will receive the skeletons. The remains will then be anointed with oil, placed in sea lion skins, wrapped in reed baskets and buried in the island’s caves. This once-traditional burial ritual will be carried out in a three-hour private ceremony.

There are only an estimated 12 to 20 pure-blooded members of the tribe left after outbreaks of respiratory illnesses through contact with Europeans devastated the group in the 19th century and again in the 1940s.

The remains were discovered in 2008 at Zurich University by documentary filmmaker Hans Mulchi and historian Christian Báez during the making of their film, Calafate, zoologicos humanos. (Calafate, human zoos).


Weitere Recherchen führten dann zu diesem Artikel:

Chile Repatriates Remains of Captured Indigenous Group

The “capturing of savages” and human zoos bring back nightmares of colonial times

The remains of five of the 11 Kawésqar people captured in 1881 by German businessman Carl Hagenbeck and displayed throughout Europe returned to their homeland on Tuesday to memorable and emotional welcoming ceremonies.

Around the time of their capture in 1881, many native groups around the world found themselves enclosed behind bars and exhibited for Europeans to see. The Kawésqar people, an indigenous South American people from southern Chile, were no exception. Shortly after being captured in Tierra del Fuego the group was displayed in Paris. Later that year they were exhibited in Berlin’s zoo and in Leipzig, Munich, Stuttgart, Nuremberg and Zurich.

Human zoos, also called “ethnological expositions” and “Negro Villages,” became popular in the 19th and 20th centuries as a means of public exhibitions of “primitive people in their natural state.” The exhibitions often emphasized the differences between Europeans and the “others.” Because of the settings and the inclination towards spectacle and entertainment, ethnographic zoos have largely been criticized as being racist. Still, they are a stark reality of colonialism and modern day anthropology.

The five Kawésqar skeletons of Henry, Lise, Grethe, Piskouna and Capitan — thus baptized by their European capturers — were discovered by documentary filmmaker Hans Mulchi and historian Christian Báez during the filming of their documentary “Calafate: Zoológicos Humanos” in February 2008 — a visual anthropological journey in search of the remains of those held in Europe’s human zoos. Báez and Mulchi later contacted José Antonio Viera-Gallo, Special Minister for the Presidency, Indigenous Affairs Coordinator and the person who took responsibility for organizing the repatriation of the bodies in an effort to secure the safe return of the remains to Chile. As part of the government’s involvement, the Magallanes (Region XII) government sent a delegation of five Tierra del Fuego indigenous descendants to Switzerland last Friday in order to assist in the retrieval of the skeletal remains in Zurich University’s anthropology department.

The Swiss anthropologist Christoph Zollikofer, who has kept the skeletons under his care, was to accompany the remains to Santiago’s Arturo Merino Benitez airport. The skeletons were expected then to be transported to the Second Aerial Brigade of Chile’s air force (FACH) where they would be given military honors and then be flown later to the southern city of Punta Arenas. The remains will ultimately be transported to the Karukinká Island in Tierra del Fuego, the island that is closest to their once home.

One of the oldest indigenous artisans in the far southern region, Rosa Catalán, 70, will receive the skeletons. The remains will then be anointed with oil, placed in the skins of sea lions, wrapped in reed baskets and buried in the island’s caves. This once-traditional burial ritual will be carried out in an almost three-hour-long private ceremony. “The funerary ritual is private, and we won’t let anyone in. This is when the elders are called in,” said Celina Llanllán, one of the Kawésqar community delegate members. Once the remains are within Kawésqar territory they are subject to Kawésqar rituals which, to the disappointment of film-maker Mulchi, do not permit audiovisual material. “I would love to gain the trust of the Kawésqar people and be able to document this ritual,” said the filmmaker.

“This repatriation act is an attempt to make amends with Chile’s indigenous people for the way they were treated,” said Viera-Gallo. “It is very important that Chile, who was responsible for these terrible injustices, admits to its monstrous act and works on reparation, even if only symbolically.”

Viera-Gallo drew parallels between the repatriation and the recent inauguration of the Museo de la Memoria, a museum that documents human rights violations committed during the 1973-‘90 military dictatorship of Gen. Augusto Pinochet (ST, January 12). “The Memory Museum is about the violations that occurred 30 years ago; this repatriation is about violations committed over a century ago,” said Viera-Gallo. “It is important to understand that Chilean history is marred by very violent periods of human rights abuses. It is thus important to remember what happened during the military period, but Chile also has to take responsibility of what happened in the South [of the country].”

The Kawésqar people were not the only indigenous groups in Chile to suffer such cruelty towards the end of the 19th century. Others include a Mapuche group and the Tierra del Fuego indigenous Selk’nam and Tehuelche groups. The Chilean government is working on finding their remains and bringing them back to the country.

Although considered mostly a thing of the past, human zoos were still in existence in the mid 20th century. More recently, many people in the southern German city of Augsburg were enraged at the creation of an “African Village” at the city’s zoo in 2005. Another incident happened at the Kolmårdens Djurpark — Scandinavia’s largest zoo — where visitors could witness a group of Maasai people performing traditional dances and songs.

In a separate comment, an anthropologist at The National Commission for Indigenous Development (CONADI) has recently questioned whether the remains of the bodies arriving in the country are those of Kawésqar or Yagane people, another southern indigenous group.

Und gleichentags im Spiegel:

Europe’s ‘Human Zoos’: Remains of Indigenous Abductees Back Home after 130 Years

The remains of five members of the Kawesqar Indian tribe, abducted by a German explorer 130 years ago for display in “human zoos,” found their way back home to Tierra del Fuego on Tuesday. Theirs is a story of degradation, shared by indigenous peoples from around the world.

It was a greatly delayed homecoming. But on Tuesday, the remains of five Kawesqar Indians, kidnapped in 1881 and brought to Europe for display in zoos, were returned to Chile for burial in their ancestral homeland in Tierra del Fuego in the country’s far south.

Chilean President Michelle Bachelet was on hand for the arrival of the remains, contained in five baskets. In light of recent evidence indicating that the Chilean government had allowed the abduction of Kawesqars, in addition to those belonging to a number of other native tribes, Bachelet said her country had been guilty of “neglect in the face of such abuses.” She went on to say that “as we near the bicentennial of our independence, we have to confront both the brightest points and the darkest moments of our history.”

But it’s not just Chile that has to confront the fate of those who were put on show across Europe. The five who arrived back in South America on Tuesday — given the names Henry, Lise, Grethe, Piskouna and Capitán by their captors — were just some of the hundreds of natives put on display across Europe at the end of the 19th century and the beginning of the 20th.

Human Zoos

Known as “human zoos,” the shows involved the abduction of indigenous peoples from around the world, particularly Africa. Often they were displayed in villages built in zoos specifically for the show, but they were also made to perform on stage for the amusement of a paying public.

One of the most prominent of the human zoo operators was the Hamburg animal trader Carl Hagenbeck, whose name still graces the zoo in Hamburg. Indeed, it was a Hagenbeck expedition which brought the five Kawesqars to Europe (along with six others, five of whom were allowed to return with the sixth dying on the way home). They took part in Hagenbeck shows in Berlin, Munich, Leipzig, Stuttgart, Nuremberg and Zurich in addition to Hamburg. In Paris, the show, called “The Savages from the Land of Fire,” attracted a half-million visitors.

‘Most Emotional Moment of My Career’

The remains were discovered during research for a documentary film about the human zoos. Chilean filmmaker Hans Mülchi not only found evidence that the Chilean government had cooperated with Hagenbeck, but also learned that the five Kawesqars had died in Zürich, victims of European diseases such as measles. Their remains were stored in the Anthropological Institute at the University of Zürich and were identified by anthropologist Christoph Zollikofer, who accompanied them back to Chile.”It was the most emotional moment of my career,” Mülchi said, according to the Süddeutsche Zeitung newspaper.

The bones have been handed over to surviving members of the Kawesqar tribe and are to be buried in a traditional indigenous ceremony on a remote island in Tierra del Fuego. Home at last.


Und dann doch noch ein Dokument auf Deutsch, als PDF:  Feuerländer