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Customs

Funerary Rituals

Familia kawésqar.

When somebody in the community became seriously ill, after being cared for by the healers, the person was left alone in his/her final moments. He was left in solitude for several hours until he exhaled his last breath. Soon the body was deposited in a flexed and lateral position on a white cloth, between four beams. Later the body was set to sea in a canoe with stones so that the body returned to the marine depths. The bodies could also be deposited in some rookery or within a cavern.

Among their remedies are included the breaking of a lance over the back of the patient and squeezing the ill part of the body, then sucking and finally blowing it towards the sky.

Spiritual World

Espíritu del yinchihuana. Ceremonia kawésqar.

The Kawésqar worldview is based on a group of malignant beings that populated the earth. These beings are a reflection of the hard climatic and telluric conditions in which they lived.

Ayayema: He is a frightful being. He dominates the natural forces and man. The strong wind of the Northwest, that turns boats and house fires, was seen as a manifestation of this malignant being. Kawtcho: He is a wandering night spirit. It is described as a short man, who by day walks below the Earth, and at night emerges from the edge of the water, announced by the barking of dogs.

Mwono: He inhabits the glaciers and mountaintops. He is the spirit of noise and shows himself in avalanches in fjords and glaciers.