Cristina Calderón

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Cristina Calderón in 2013
Traditional Yahgan basket, woven by Abuela Cristina Calderón

Cristina Calderón (born May 24, 1928 at Robalo, Puerto Williams on Navarino Island, Chile)[1] is the last living full-blooded Yaghan person after the death of her 84 year-old sister Úrsula in 2005.[2][3] By 2004, Calderón (often referred to as simply "Abuela", Spanish for "grandmother") and her sister-in-law Emelinda Acuña were the only two remaining native speakers of the Yaghan language.[4] With her granddaughter Cristina Zárraga and her sister Úrsula Calderón she published a book of Yaghan stories called Hai Kur Mamashu Shis (I Want to Tell You a Story) in 2005. Zárraga, along with her husband Oliver Vogel, published Yagankuta, a dictionary and storybook of the Yaghan language, in 2010, based on interviews with Calderón.[5]

As of May 2019, she was still alive and residing in Villa Ukika near her hometown of Puerto Williams.[6] She is the mother of ten children and grandmother to 19 as of 2017.[7]

Cristina Calderón has been officially declared Illustrious Daughter of the Magallanes Region and Chilean Antarctica. She also has been recognized by the National Council of Culture and the Arts as a Living Human Treasure in the framework of the Convention for the Safeguard of Immaterial Heritage, adopted by UNESCO in 2003. Likewise, she was nominated to be one of the fifty heroines in the celebration of the Bicentennial of Chile.[8]


  1. ^ Cristian Muñoz Vera. "Cristina Calderón representará a la Región de Magallanes en la elección de la mujer del Bicentenario" (in Spanish). Retrieved 24 May 2011. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  2. ^ Jackie Hailey (October 14, 2005). "Extinction on the horizon for indigenous tribe in Chile: Second-To-Last Yagana Woman Dies Of A Heart Attack". The Santiago Times. Santiago. Retrieved October 4, 2011. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  3. ^ Azúa, Mauricio. "Mujer yagana busca preservar lengua a través de diccionario" (in Spanish). La Estrella de Arica. Retrieved 19 March 2011. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  4. ^ Jack Hitt (February 29, 2004). "Say No More". The New York Times Magazine. New York: The New York Times. p. 52. ISSN 0028-7822. Retrieved October 4, 2011. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  5. ^ Vogel, Oliver; Zárraga, Cristina (2010). Yagankuta: Pequeño Diccionario Yagan. Retrieved 2019-06-18. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  6. ^ Vega, Jorge (May 31, 2019). "In Chile's remote south, the last speaker of an ancient language fights to keep it alive". Retrieved December 19, 2020. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  7. ^ Morales, Mauricio (2017-01-27). "La última yagana: Aún existe discriminación a los pueblos originarios en Chile". El Ciudadano. Retrieved 2019-06-18. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  8. ^ Biobí (May 26, 2011). "Última representante del pueblo Yagan cumple 83 años en Puerto Williams" (in Spanish). Retrieved 28 May 2011. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)

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