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Danger in Southern Lands II

1884: the cacique Incayal, prisoner, is transferred to Buenos Aires. Together with his family, he found a strange fate.
06 October, 2019

A room near the office of anthropological studies of the future Museo de la Plata, had become the new home of the chieftain who faced Julio Argentino Roca. How’d he get there?

The armies that were to conquer Chubut, caught him in 1884 and, instead of killing him, took him to work on Martín García Island. The naturalist Francisco Pascasio Moreno, who had known Inacayal long ago in one of his scientific expeditions, was the proposed moving him to La Plata along with other Indians. He found a good place for him. It was a space where the group would live, set with their Tehuelchebelongings. At first the idea seemed good, however, shortly thereafter, it became a nightmare.

So much authority had deployed Inacayal among his own, that it was difficult to imagine it in such a vulnerable situation. It was quite a bit. – I’m a big guy. Stare sharp. Intuitive. Those who knew him said of him that He was a smart man. But in that group that inhabited the future walls of the Silver Museum, there was his daughter. Protecting her became in the only priority of Inacayal. The Island Martin Garcia wasn’t a good place to raise her.

Accepting Moreno’s proposal, during his captivity in La Plata the former chieftain worked as a pawn in the works of the museum and subjected himself to all kinds of anthropological observations. Biometric, behavioral and learning. Cognitive development and communicational. All his shares were registered and filed to be studied. The scientific entourage came very often and they were always looking for something new. Inacayal agreed. Her daughter’s survival was more important.

But one day the girl got sick. For a long period scholars observed how the whole group deteriorated. Until, at dusk of a wet January day Inacayal’s daughter died.

A knight in the lands of the sur”, the novel by Pedro Orgambide, narrates the death of the chief as suicide. No more for what to live, he threw himself down the stairs of the museum.

Nobody really knows what the cause of his death was. Some of them images proposed by the anthropologist Herman Ten Kate and the naturalist Clemente Onelli, between others, evoke his last days by contributing little to the reasons for his I’m gone.

The truth is that, at the request of the opening of the museum, the bodies of the Tehuelches who lived there were displayed in immense display cases. Inacayal came to see them. The tragic air of the macabre shows surely was no stranger to his death. The bones of his wife, those of his daughter and the rest of his companions, had become part of the museum’s attraction. Few then understood that the lost man who walked through the endless galleries, long ago, had resisted the Conquest of the Desert.

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