SOME UNFORTUNATE INDIAN PRISONERS
The Argentine Transport Villarino, under command of Captain Spurr,
arrived on Tuesday morning in the Boca, after a cruise of two months in the
Southern Seas. Among her passengers we note Captain Moyano, Governor of Santa
Cruz, and wife; Lieutenant Colonel Feilberg, National Delegate of Mines; Mr
Virasoro, Sub-Prefect of Tierra del Fuego; Lewis Fique, Ayudante of the Ooshooia
Sub-Prefecture; Feiriguro, do. of States Island, and several Frenchmen who
have returned from a prospecting tour over the gold fields of Cape Virgins
and Rio Gallegos: lastly, a crowd of steerage passengers, comprising half-starved
miners, wrecked mariners, and some unfortunate Indian prisoners, caught in
some barbarous razzia in Tierra del Fuego [...]
Before concluding we may call attention to the Indian prisoners on board the
Villarino; they comprise only women and children, a poor compliment
to the bravery of the men who fought the Ona tribes of Tierra del Fuego. It
would be premature to venture any remarks in this regard, but if we are to
judge the results of Mr. Ramon Lista's expedition through Tierra del Fuego
by the sabre cuts inflicted on the heads of Indian babies and the bullet-pierced
lungs of infants, we may say that these suffice to brand the expedition as
barbarous, and its members far more barbarians than the Indians are contending
against. The Indian women captured are large and evidently belong to a branch
of the Tehuelche tribe, the largest Indians on the American continent. The
children, in spite of their wounds, look strong and healthy; but we wonder
why men were not captured to travel behind the triumphal car of civilized warfare,
instead of weeping women and maimed infants. The Argentine Government ought
to look into this and soundly rate the Lista expedition for its barbarity.
Thanks to the assiduous care of Dr. Mistre, of the Villarino, these Indian
children met with every care, and may survive.
[Captain Spurr's Report]
Left Punta Arenas on the 4th December, met same day cutter Bahía Blanca with
mails from the Lista party and bound for Punta Arenas: informed us that the
Lista party had an engagement with Indians at St. Sebastian on the 25th November,
the savages having been driven back with heavy losses in killed and wounded:
nine prisoners of the "chusma" of the Indians had been handed to
the Delegate of mines in Gallegos, to be forwarded to B. Aires in my ship.
[...] On the 4th, at noon, we anchored at Cape Virgins, to pick up mails and
soldiers from Buenos Aires: left in the evening for Gallegos where we anchored
next day [...] We took aboard at this port the nine Indians captured at St.
Sebastian by the Lista party [...] On the 8th one of the Indian prisoners,
a female, died from wounds inflicted during the engagement of the 25th November
at St. Sebastian.
Source: "The Standard" (Buenos Aires), 23 December 1886