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Siebenbürgerin
Saturday, June 14th, 2008, 06:03 PM
The photograph is arresting: three almost naked men with long flowing hair, one painted black and the other two painted bright red, shooting arrows into the sky to ward off some aerial evil.
The National Geographic Society recently released this (http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2008/05/080530-uncontacted-tribes-photo.html) and other photographs of what appears to be a group of Amazonian Indians who have never seen modern civilization.

The photograph is stunning because we are well past the Age of Discovery, and yet here are some fellow humans who escaped discovery. We pause and look, fascinated, because the idea of a bunch of people hidden in a forest, undetected and unspoiled, is just way too romantic.

Of course, we, people of the so-called modern world, have been caught up in feelings for "the noble savage" for more than two centuries. In the 18th and 19th centuries, Western explorers (http://www.livescience.com/history/top10_intrepid_explorers.html) wandered the globe and brought back fantastic tales of people living off the land, like animals, they described. At first, those people were considered ignorant savages, people with none of the "higher" aspects of European culture such as religion, art, or complex social systems. These groups were presented to the public as oddities, fearsome creatures that were less than human.

But philosophers such a Jean-Jacques Rousseau, great thinkers who had not actually ever seen one of these "primitive people," took the opposite view. The "savages," they contended, were regular human with souls, but they were more innocent, more natural, more what nature intended than citizens of the modern world.

In other words, these savages were not just noble; they were like very nice children. And then in stepped anthropologists, trained observers who went here and there spending real time among those savages and discovered that just like people in cities, these isolated groups had their own brand of sophisticated culture and they were anything but innocent (http://www.livescience.com/bestimg/index.php?cat=urbanlegends).

But even today, with that understanding in hand, we continue to be seduced by the idea that there might be people naturally much better than ourselves.
For example, in the 1970s, 26 people calling themselves the Tasaday were "discovered" in the Philippine forest. They were reportedly peaceful people living in caves unaware that civilization had passed them by. Anthropological research confirmed that although the Tasaday were isolated, there had been contact here and there in their history.

The real controversy is not whether groups have ever been contacted, but what to do when they have. Should everyone stay out, preserving these groups like specimens in a museum, or should globalization be allowed to gobble up these people and change their lives, integrate them into the modern world?

And more importantly, who exactly gets to make that decision?

More: http://www.livescience.com//history/080613-hn-uncontacted.html

The Lawspeaker
Saturday, June 14th, 2008, 06:36 PM
For example, in the 1970s, 26 people calling themselves the Tasaday were "discovered" in the Philippine forest. They were reportedly peaceful people living in caves unaware that civilization had passed them by. Anthropological research confirmed that although the Tasaday were isolated, there had been contact here and there in their history.


Yes, I have read about them and they were very very intresting.
In Readers Digest "Landen en Volkeren- Zuidoost Azië" (page 145) there is a small article that I wil translate (not that this book is very old, I think that it was printed in the late 1980's):


http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/f/f6/Tasaday_working_hand_drill.jpg

Tasadays
No knowledge of war and violence

Different cultures, different manners. In 1971 dr. Manuel Elizalde (director of Panamin) revealed the existence of a tribe of cavemen, the Tasadays, on Mindanao.
The revealation, that was spread around the world, stunned many.
From the repots of anthropologists and investigators, that assembled on the foot of the cliff were the Tasadays were living, arrose a picture of people that were still living as if they were in the Stone Age: smashing rocks so they could be used as cutting tools, rubbing sticks to each other to make fire and gathering food.

There were 24 of them, living in the cover of the cliff that they were on, leaping from cave to cave as if they were apes and leaping from one branch to another, clinging to lianas.
Possibly they were descendants of the Manobo tribe but they could not tell the researchers when they had seceded from that tribe.
None on them had ever been more then a few miles away from their cliff. When the researchers took them to edge of the jungle it became apparent that the flatness of the landscape scared the tribe.
They were dressed in a single leaf and fed themselves with roots, berries, larvae, frogs and crabs that they collect from the river. They spend around 2 hours a day gathering food and the remaining time is spend with "leisure": looking at the forest and playing with the children.
In their imagination there is no place for an afterlife and eventhough they are monogamist they do not know a wedding ceremony.

The dialogues that Elizalde wrote down testify of their innocent look on life:

Q: "Until when does a couple stay together?"

A: "Until their hair is white."

Q: "What do you dislike ?"

A: " Loud voices and shining (threatening, angry) eyes.

They don't follow a leader nor do they know war or violence. "Our ancestors told us that we should never leave this place" is a phrase that the Tasaday repeatedly told Elizalde.
In Manila their words have not fallen on deaf ears and the Tasaday have received a substantial territory so they can continue to dream in peace and wait for the day that the Great Fortune-teller (Manuel Elizalde) would re-visit the tribe with the Great Bird (the Panamin helicopter). The Tasaday are not unhappy with the contacts with the outside world, but their productivity, nor their way of gathering food, has changed because of it.

Soldier of Wodann
Sunday, June 15th, 2008, 01:35 AM
Those pictures look so fake.

And the idealizing natives as being "peaceful" and "non-violent" is a totally ridiculous phenomenon. I think all of the early explorers would quite avidly disagree with it.

Elysium
Sunday, June 15th, 2008, 01:55 AM
Those pictures look so fake.

And the idealizing natives as being "peaceful" and "non-violent" is a totally ridiculous phenomenon. I think all of the early explorers would quite avidly disagree with it.

That's because they are racists. :)

In my opinion, most natives that were displaced by settlement, are quite hostile, not to mention unintelligent.

Siebenbürgerin
Sunday, June 15th, 2008, 02:01 AM
I think all of the early explorers would quite avidly disagree with it.
Such as? Sources to back up this claim?

Soldier of Wodann
Sunday, June 15th, 2008, 02:04 AM
Such as? Sources to back up this claim?

Look up James Cook or Ferdinand Magellan, two of the most famous explorers in history. I don't think they had the best of experiences.

Elysium
Sunday, June 15th, 2008, 02:55 AM
Look up James Cook or Ferdinand Magellan, two of the most famous explorers in history. I don't think they had the best of experiences.

In Australia we are taught in school that Cook came here and the first thing he did was try to exterminate the tribes. :D

Brynhild
Sunday, June 15th, 2008, 03:05 AM
I think it's quite interesting how this particular tribe could go unnoticed for so long.

Some of my own observations come to mind:

They would appear to be a gentle people who had their own way of going about things - they certainly didn't need anybody else, did they? Apparently, there was no need for them to leave their own place to explore for other parts unknown - a rare commodity in itself in comparison to other races.

Savage, that would depend on one's definition. They were obviously civilised enough in that they had ensured their own survival in probably the most remote rainforest in the world.

Intelligent also in that they knew how to live off the land, observe the seasons and everything else that our ancient forebears once knew to do. The concept of life and death would certainly be more acceptable to them, just like the passing of the seasons.

We could learn so much from these people, so long as those who commune with them don't exploit the situation which makes it more detrimental than beneficial.

Schmetterling
Saturday, June 21st, 2008, 09:46 AM
Centuries passed and the mighty Aztec and Mayan empires rose and fell, and the European invaders brought havoc, but somehow the tiny Naso realm survived in its jungle pocket. Today, it is one of the few tribal kingdoms in the Americas with a royal inheritance system recognised by the state.

And now fate has played a trick. The river which was its lifeblood is at the heart of a dilemma which is tearing the tribe apart. The Panama government wants to build a hydroelectric station on its banks, a project which will bring development - and possibly destruction. The prospect of the outside world's vices and virtues penetrating their jungle has split the 3,500-strong Naso and left them with a dynastic feud, two rival monarchs, an abandoned palace and an uncertain future.

The discord reflects an anguished debate about Naso identity and the balance between heritage and modernity. It also reflects two men's ambition to wear a crown of bird feathers - a power struggle between an uncle and nephew redolent of a tropical Shakespearean drama.

Link (http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2008/jun/16/endangeredhabitats.conservation)

This is a good example of how modernity wrecks traditional culture and only sees the opportunity of profit. While there's a point in that mastering science and technology not necessarily pose an immediate threat to these tribal communities, the key point here is that they should have the right to follow their own natural development. Of course they have the right to develop science and technology, but not via means of imposing this upon them. That's colonialism and we've seen the effects of that in the third world (yes, South Africa is "decent," but also remember the immense racial conflicts down there, not to mention the exploitation of the land in general).

Link (http://www.corrupt.org/news/modernity_threatens_cultural_heritage_of _jungle_tribes)