Martin Gusinde

Martin Gusinde was an Austrian priest, anthropologist, and teacher. He led a life rich in cultural education. He first studied philosophy and theology in 1905, and was ordained a priest in 1911. He left Austria for Chile, where he took up a teaching position at the University of Chile. He was an avid researcher, and took many trips to explore the native peoples of Chile including the Arawak and Tierra del Fuego tribes. Gusinde’s photographs of the Chilean peoples are published in the book Los Indios de Tierra del Fuego.

Gusinde’s work with the ethnic groups of Chile is extremely important. The photographs he took of the Selknam tribe in 1923 are the only ones that document an important ritual called the Hain, and they were taken shortly before the Selknam became extinct. Gusinde’s photographs are essential to preserve the history of this group and the cultural heritage that remains of it. Gusinde spent the rest of his life committed to ethnography and education, before returning to his church of St. Gabriel in Austria until his death.

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