PUERTO WILLIAMS, Chile (Reuters) – Sitting in the warmth of a wood fire in her home in Chile’s deep south, Cristina Calderón sometimes wishes she had more people to speak to in her mother tongue as she weaves woolen socks to sell at the local market.
Calderón, 91, is the last person to speak the millennia-old ancestral Yámana language of the indigenous Yagán community that has long inhabited the remote tip of South America, areas which are now parts of Argentina and Chile.
“There used to be many Yaganes, my dad and mom were Yagán, so when they were born, they always spoke the Yagán language and that’s how I was growing up,” says Calderón, who did not learn Spanish until she was nine years old.
Surrounded by photos of her family with the distinctive features of the nomadic tribe, Calderón lives in a small house in Villa Ukika, a town created by the Yagán on the outskirts of the larger Chilean settlement Puerto Williams.
Calderón recalls with nostalgia the last…
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