||This article may be expanded with text translated from the corresponding article in the Spanish Wikipedia. (September 2013)|
|Region||Patagonia, Tierra del Fuego.|
Probably no remaining speakers (Adelaar 2000).
Part of the Chonan languages of Patagonia, Selk'nam is almost extinct, due both to the late 19th-century Selknam Genocide by European immigrants, high fatalities due to disease, and disruption of traditional society. One source states that the last fluent native speakers died in the 1980s,:92 but another claims that two speakers had survived into 2014.
The Selk'nam people, also known as the 'Ona, were an indigenous people who inhabited the northeastern part of the archipelago of Tierra del Fuego for thousands of years before Europeans arrived. They were nomads known as "foot-people," as they did their hunting on land, rather than being seafarers.
The last full-blooded Selk'nam, Ángela Loij, died in 1974. They were one of the last aboriginal groups in South America to be reached by Europeans. Their language, believed to be part of the Chonan family, is considered extinct as the last speakers died in the 1980s.
- Rojas, Luis (2014). A Heritage Reference Grammar of Selk'nam. Manuscript.
- Nordhoff, Sebastian; Hammarström, Harald; Forkel, Robert; Haspelmath, Martin, eds. (2013). "Ona". Glottolog. Leipzig: Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology.
- Adelaar, Willem (2010). "South America". In Christopher (ed.), Atlas of the World's Languages in Danger, 3rd Edition. UNESCO. pp. 86-94.
- Najlis, Elena (1973). Lengua selknam. Buenos Aires: Universidad de Salvador.
- Guillermo Latorre, Sustrato y superestrato multilingües en la toponimia del extremo sur de Chile, Facultad de Filosofía y Humanidades de la Universidad Austral de Chile
- Selknam dictionary online (select simple or advanced browsing)