39 thoughts on “How We Carefully Observe And Protect The Last Uncontacted Tribes”

  1. You know I was bloody wondering when I read that article how exactly they’re supposed to be Uncontacted and Remote and Separate if we’re FLYING AIRPLANES OVER THEM. Seemed a bit off.

  2. I wonder what they make of satellites, or transcontinental flights. I’m sure they’ve seen those at night. I wonder if these strange lights in the sky have made it into their stories or lexicon?

  3. Why do I have the feeling that in about six months the big log in the upper left will be part of an expensive coffee table?

    Anyone taking bets on how long before someone has combined Google Earth and Mechanical Turk to locate the homes of the last 100 uncontacted tries?

  4. I’d be surprised if that was the first airplane they’d ever seen do a low pass. It was probably just the first one with a photographer aboard.

    No one, anywhere on Earth today, is truly remote. It’s just a question of degree.

    Looked at from another way, I don’t know if I’m comfortable with the idea of keeping several tens of dozens of tribes in something like a Wild Animal Safari zoo park. Does it satisfy us to think there are still more or less untouched-by-Western-hands cultures out there, or do we find it quaint that there are still little patches of the wild that we’re content to leave (ostensibly) untouched?

    Are we preserving a culture, or are we being paternalistic shits a la Britain and India circa the 19th Century?

  5. Warren – Isn’t this the stone age tribe that lives on an isolated island and kills whoever tries to make contact with them? Not to parse words, but we aren’t keeping those fuckers at all, hence the dead fishermen and camera crews.

    I think it’s the regions that enable these tribes to exist. At last check the only modern day stone age men I know of all live on African islands, isolated and desolate African deserts, and a smattering of islands in the south pacific. All places where the government is either too weak or too remote to challenge what have got to be deeply ingrained, ritual-laden cultures.

    Also, consider that these deeply ingrained, ritual-laden, terribly xenophobic, war-like cave men generally aren’t interested in our pale-faced magics… how exactly do we introduce them to the monoculture? A lot of these tribes (like the one pictured) have and will murder anyone who threatens their territory just on principle. Short of doing something reprehensible, like murdering all the adults and giving the children to missionaries, there’s no way to even pantomime to these people.

    Paternalistic shittiness can’t really apply to them, is my point. That kind of mentality only works on places we’ve already bludgeoned a bit, like those Kenyan tribes that allow you to laugh and snort at a sacred consecration ritual for $60. That’s us being paternalistic shits.

  6. “Warren – Isn’t this the stone age tribe that lives on an isolated island and kills whoever tries to make contact with them?”

    No. Hence, “uncontacted.” Nobody here reads the news?

  7. What, youre surprised by that now?
    And by that your audience just likes you angry and swearing, and just get a tenth of what you say too probably. Again..
    What is it? A Cycle of some kind ;)

    If so, Id like Cult Leader Warren back soon, I liked him.

  8. I thought we developed things like, I dunno, satellites and Google Earth to be more subtle about this stuff. But no, why use a scalpel when you’ve got a nice shiny machete handy?

  9. They may be uncontacted but I bet they could guess who is on the cover of Oprah Magazine this month.

    The thing I find most frustrating about the “story” – and I read it on CNN.com, is how little was reported. It was basically a flyover with pictures. What the paparazzi do to the Paris Hiltons and Lindsay Lohans of the world can now be done to the uncontacted people in the Amazon. Whiz by – take a picture – and then show the world a novelty. There’s no substance. No story. No discussion. (At least not in the initial article).

  10. “Are we preserving a culture, or are we being paternalistic shits a la Britain and India circa the 19th Century?”

    Considering that it’s routine for tribes to get slaughtered next door in Peru anytime someone wants to get their clear-cutting on, I don’t think Brazil (which is not “we”) is being paternalistic.

  11. WELCOME TO THE WORLD OF TOMORROOOOOOOW.

    I guess it’s pretty sick, that I kind of want experiement on their culture, huh? Like only introducing certain things from our mass-culture, but not all.

  12. Gotta say, my favourite thing about this image is; (from left to right) MAN RED, MAN BLUE, MAN YELLOW, MAN BROWN-ISH, MAN RED-AGAIN were building a low-slung thatched silo together one day when…

  13. Warren – We’re going to have to argue the meaning of uncontacted, then. The Sentinelese are considered uncontacted and India’s tried just about everything to ass its way onto their island.

  14. This is what we must look like to the aliens. Now I know why they keep buzzing by our little F-14s and do their little light shows over our metropolises.
    They’re just selling pictures and stories to the more enlightened half of galaxy.

  15. Jesus loves the little children… all the children of the world. YELLOW, RED AND BLACK AND WHITE…

    Man… let’s get some ass-kicking missionaries with lice and gonorrhea in there asap!

  16. Wow, Stig, you sure are angry about a lot of people you haven’t met — and they weren’t even the right people in the first place.

    I understand why we’d want to think twice (or more!) about introducing any remote civilization to a monocultured world. For one thing, they might simply decide not to participate, which might make the whole thing a waste of everyone’s time.

    On the other hand, your apparent willingness to tar (with an extremely broad brush, one off by at least an ocean) anyone not in that monoculture as murderous savages suggests that maybe the Brazilian government has the right idea in keeping us the hell away from them.

  17. Templesmith
    It would be cowardly from me to pretend I did’nt have that very same vision, (yet Iinstantly tried to think of something else)Probably the F word in the title had something subliminal to that.

  18. I bet they are marrying off their children before the legal age.

    I bet they are harming their children in other ways too, like teaching them to kill and torture animals — and enemies– and indoctrinating them with strange religious ideas.

    We should invade them and take all of their children away.

  19. I did not follow how this news as presented in the english-speaking bit of the world… But by your overall reactions I think there was a little tid bit of misinformation and exoticism.

    So, to clarify:

    “Uncontacted” does not mean this people have never saw a plane, does not know what an helicopter is or lose their nights fearfully musing about the mysterious nature of the pale-faced weredevils from above. “Uncontacted” just means they don´t have contact with us (and I am brazilian, so it is “us” to me). This people do know about white men and their technology and civilization… they just couldn´t care less. In fact, brazilian was able to locate them to take this pictures thanks to other tribes (of the “contacted” persuasion) who eventually trade with them… including itens from our post-industrial world, like matches.

    Therefore this is not a picture of poor stone-aged people cowering at the sight of the Sky Metal God. It´s a picture of natives saying “It´s a fucking helicopter from the white invaders. Let´s show them they´re not welcome. With lethal prejudice.”

    And that´s, by the way, why they remain uncontacted.

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