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Disconnected Stories: The Yaghan Body Pigments

Friday 9th August 2019 is the United Nations International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples. There are an estimated 370 indigenous people in the world, living across 90 countries. They speak a significant majority of the world’s estimated 7,000 languages and represent 5,000 different cultures. 2019 is the International Year of Indigenous Languages.

This month, The Earth Museum Object Stories are dedicated to the theme of Indigenous Peoples. Each story will reflect on the disconnection between objects in museums and the rich cultural identities to which they belong. The Earth Museum is interested in exploring their re-connection.

Our first ‘disconnected story’ relates to the Yaghan body pigments collected by Charles Darwin in 1833 during his visit to Tierra del Fuego. The Sense of Place film in this story links to rare 100 year old audio from the Library of Congress collections, of Yaghan people speaking and singing in their language which is today very endangered.

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