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  1.  (2413.1)
  2.  (2413.2)
    This is very catching to my anthropologists eye.

    It seems amazing how with all the worlds 'advances' and exploration there are still people yet to be encountered. To me this is awesome, and not because there is now a new people to explore and exploit. But, rather as the news article frenchbloke linked to suggested, the legal and political discussions that are going to happen should be interesting and far more wide ranging than simply impacting this new people.

    I will have to try and keep and eye on this


    p.s. great find frenchbloke, there's a reason i come here before the news agencies
    • CommentTimeMay 30th 2008
    Those people are so fucked, and they don't even know it.
  3.  (2413.4)
    You know they've got Xboxes in the shacks and iPods in their nappies.

    But, seriously, people should just back the hell away.
  4.  (2413.5)
    Reminds me of the Sentinalese, who are famed for their very effective way of dealing with intruders.

    Occasionally there were incidents more reminiscent of the Keystone Kops than of Captain Cook. Once, a high-ranking naval officer, newly deputed to the Andamans, accompanied the expedition. "He was a very fat guy, a Punjabi, with a very loud manner and talking too much, that type of character," Pandit recalls. As the officer's dinghy approached shore, and Sentinelese were seen emerging from the forest, he stood up and started waving his arms over his head, shouting at the tribesmen in Punjabi: "Hello! Hello! I am your friend!" A second later, an arrow clanged against an iron shield that a crewman had held up, just in time, in front of the officer's belly. During another expedition, a boat carrying the superintendent of police turned turtle in the surf. Some armed Sentinelese watched from the beach, but did not shoot the struggling men. This was seen as an encouraging sign.

    My advice? FIRE. MORE. ARROWS.
    • CommentTimeMay 30th 2008
    The rate of death by homicide for men in similarly primitive tribal societies in New Guinea was documented by anthropologists as being close to 30%. So when you celebrate the purity of stone age tribes, remember that they're likely killing each other at rates that would make Chairman Mao blanch.

    It's a good thing that we live in a world where this sort of backwardness is considered bizarre and newsworthy. Hobbes was right.
  5.  (2413.7)
    So when you celebrate the purity of stone age tribes, remember that they're likely killing each other at rates that would make Chairman Mao blanch

    I think your comparison is also a response.

    Human horrors are human horrors. Whether you're tossing arrows at sky birds or marching in formation.
    • CommentTimeMay 30th 2008
    @orwellseyes: Human beings are inherently corrupt and murderous. Civilization makes us better. Nostalgia for an innocent, pastoral dawn of humanity is ahistorical and opens the door to all sorts of old horrors made new.
  6.  (2413.9)
    I disagree on the first part and the second doesn't parse. If humans are inherently corrupt then whatever they create is corrupt as well. Human beings are capable of great beauty and great depravity. Whether in a gutter or a palatial estate. Civilization isn't a cure for the horrors of savagery.

    It's not nostalgia to leave people alone who throw arrows at you when you get close. Your definition of civilized is just that, yours. It's a steep and slippery sloap from "Here is penicilin to treat your diseases" to

    I wouldn't want to live in a yurt, but I'm not going to try an civilize other people out of it.
  7.  (2413.10)
    There's maybe about 100 different tribal groups around the world that are "uncontacted" peoples. For the most part, these peoples are left unmolested. This particular group isn't necessarily fucked, and Funai took the photos in the first place to make sure they aren't.

    Which, by the by, is a GOOD thing. Unless you're completely devoid of any understanding of history (cough*Lingster*cough).
  8.  (2413.11)
    Looks as if they knew the perfect message for the outside world when they turned their bows up towards the photographing plane.
    • CommentTimeMay 30th 2008
    @orwellseyes: I would recommend you read Nicholas Wade's Before the Dawn. The book is an encapsulation of recent genetic, anthropological and sociological findings on early (and primitive) man. Many of the findings are borrowed from Lawrence H. Keeley, an anthropologist at Oxford who has estimated that most primitive societies remained at war permanently and deeply, losing 1/2 percent of their population to warfare every year. I don't have the book in front of me, but my recollection is that analysis shows that 1/3 of all pre-civilized societies were exterminated every century through warfare (aka genocide). If that percentage of war deaths held steady in civilized societies, the 20th century total for war dead would have been more than ten times as large as it was - about 2 billion dead.

    I know it's popular to romanticize the noble savage, but research has increasingly shown that primitive societies are vastly more brutal than anything we have known in recorded history.

    @doclivingston: You're mistaking popular fantasies for history. If you have numbers to support your claim of my ignorance, by all means post 'em. Otherwise the ignoramus is you.
  9.  (2413.13)
    It isn't fantasy. It's history. And based on history, it's become standard ethical procedure to allow an indigenous people its privacy and autonomy. Do you really need me to look up sources to document exploitation of indigenous peoples, transmission of diseases for which indigenous peoples have no built-in immunity, cultural conflict, loss of culture, loss of history, loss of land, so on and so forth ad infinitum? Sorry, not interested. And your statistics are only meaningful if they're from verified sources and indicate that those genocide numbers are strictly inter-tribal in nature. I won't be terribly surprised if you find out a significant portion of those stats are generated from contact between a "pre-civilised" group and a "civilised" group.
  10.  (2413.14)
    It's like watching a shitty GEICO commercial.

    And I'm with Lingster. None of us would trade places with them, which tells you all you need to know about their existence.
    • CommentAuthorSRT
    • CommentTimeMay 30th 2008
    Interesting. I do sometimes wonder about how many humans there are who haven't been contacted by our 'global culture.'

    I don't know, it seems they should be able to make an informed decision for themselves. Maybe send in a few diplomats to talk with them about the differences in our two cultures. Of course if anyone wants to continue living in that village they could.
    • CommentTimeMay 30th 2008
    @Jonathan Hickman: Dentistry alone is sufficient justification for choosing modernity.

    @doclivingston: So we should blame Spaniards from 300 years' before the development of germ theory for transmitting smallpox and other diseases to the Western Hemisphere? They had no idea what they were doing. Also, what do you imagine happened across the Eastern Hemisphere when the human smallpox virus first arose? (Hint: the same damn thing.)

    You're missing the point: if Keeley is even close to right, primitive peoples kill each other with far greater tenacity than any modern group ever has. I don't particularly care what happens to this group of hunter-gatherers - but I would certainly hope than their grandkids have the opportunity to learn to read and live past the age of 35.
  11.  (2413.17)
    But at what point does respecting a unique people's privacy and autonomy translate to signing their death warrants, exactly? If your point is that Keeley might be right and these people might kill themselves, then show Keeley to be right, show that this particular group is in regular conflict and regularly dying due to that conflict, and THEN show me how either the modern state of Brazil or Peru will deftly safeguard this group with respect to its culture and dignity.

    THAT scenario? I'll be entirely fine with. When I see it. And absolutely, eventually this group's freedom to modernize should be safeguarded as well as anything else. But it's not a propagation of the myth of the noble savage I'm espousing here. It's the safety of this people and their identity. It's ridiculous to pretend there's not a danger posed every single time a "primitive" tribe like this is discovered by the modern world.
    • CommentAuthorrough night
    • CommentTimeMay 30th 2008 edited
    I'm all for letting people live as they want, but let's give them the option first - if for no other reason than the medical. Without modern medical care people die young, of really easy shit to cure, or suffer their whole lives with otherwise treatable disabilities (or die as babies because of them). Besides, what about the things these folks know that we haven't discovered yet? What if they've found a combination of local ingredients that cures cancer or just makes a really good hallucinogen? What if there's a person in that tribe with the capacity to be the next Da Vinci and that poor bastard is spending a brilliant mind designing new types of arrows and plows that have already been invented elsewhere anyway?

    I find it disturbing that some folks in the article talk about "preserving" these tribesfolk to prevent "extinction" as though they're a breed of endangered antelope. We're humans, we talk to each other, it's what we do - spread knowledge, insult one another and apologize for it, eroticize each other's customs and refuse to apologize for it - it's beautiful; let's get to it. With some caution of course, and a pile of vaccines. History doesn't have to repeat itself, that's why we record it. I think we can manage not to kill or mutilate anyone if we send someone with penicillin and a penchant for learning languages quickly.

    Besides, they've been found. There's no preserving their isolation anymore now that it's in the newspapers. At this point one either sends qualified diplomats or lets assholes with guns find out where they are and use the tribesfolk for anything they can get.
    • CommentTimeMay 30th 2008
    @doclivingstone: They're not alone out there. There are 'uncontacted' human tribes all over the western part of Brazil, and they are in contention with one another. Funai didn't call them 'warriors' for nothing. These people are likely in low-intensity but prolonged and deep warfare with at least one other tribe. They may do what the Dani people in New Guinea were famous for, which is meet up regularly for a sports-like ritual where they hurl spears and rocks at one another across a field, or they may do what chimpanzees and some primitive human groups do, which is to raid into other groups' territories and rape, kill or abduct solitary members of other groups. Either way, 1/3 of these tribes will probably face extermination each century, and 30% of the men (and a large chunk of the women, too) will die by violence.

    It's a brutal life and they don't know anything better. I don't feel any particular obligation to go in and civilize them, because obviously that's fraught with hardship and misery, too, but hopefully they won't remain like this indefinitely. Objectively, these are people living in grinding poverty with few medical resources. That's sad.
    • CommentAuthorSRT
    • CommentTimeMay 30th 2008
    What if there's a person in that tribe with the capacity to be the next Da Vinci and that poor bastard is spending a brilliant mind designing new types of arrows and plows that have already been invented elsewhere anyway?

    I've thought about this idea before. Let's say, what if the best guitar player who ever lived (or, at least, the person who had the potential to be a wonderful guitar player) was born in, say, Bangladesh, had to get a job at a sweat shop at the age of 10, and then died at 35. I think a lot of people are motivated to charity out of a feeling of guilt, but for me it's a sort of greed. I want those contributions to my culture, dammit.