A Social Media Series by the Caribbean Amerindian Development Organization (CADO), and the Indigenous Democracy Development Organization (IDDO)

Here are some images I found of the Great Chief Inacayal (1835-1888) of the Tehuelche people in Patagonia, Argentina; who led a resistance against the Argentine government – which was slaughtering it’s way southward across the pampas and deserts of southern South America at the same time the American government was slaughtering it’s way west across the Great Plains of North America.

The Tehuelche were hunter-gatherers who had a nomadic society, and had long been independent of the Argentine government established in coastal areas. He was one of the last indigenous rulers to resist the Argentine Conquest of the Desert in the late 19th century and its resultant campaigns. He did not surrender until 1884.

His hospitality to Francisco Moreno during the explorer’s 1880 expedition to Patagonia was recalled after his surrender, which was covered by the press. Moreno argued with the government on his behalf to spare Inacayal time in military prison. In exchange, Moreno studied him for anthropology. Along with others in his clan, Inacayal was studied for his resemblance to “prehistoric man.”

After his death in 1888, anthropologists displayed the indigenous chief’s brain and skeleton as an exhibit in the anthropological museum in Buenos Aires (how ‘civilised’ of the Argentinians). His remains were finally returned to his people in 1994 for reinterment in the Comunidad Tehuelche Mapuche of Chubut Province.

Together with Inacayal, Salpu, Sayhueque and Foyel – were the last Patagonian indigenous chieftains who refused to recognize the Argentine government. They fought valiantly against the Argentine Army during the Conquest of the Desert – and were the contemporary equivalent of the heroic Apaches who were fighting valiantly with Geronimo to retain their freedom, against the brutal American military in the deserts of the American South-West during the same time period.

There are 28,000 Tehuelche surviving descendants today of these Great Warriors who fought for their freedom.

By Damon Corrie

Last Real Indians