In the past few weeks the net has been buzzing about an uncontacted people living in the Amazon basin. In actuality the story broke in May of 2008, so it isn’t really new (and in fact experts had known of them for a long time). The images were published to raise public awareness of these people and the danger they face form the illegal and (IMOP) immoral (but also IMOP totally understandable. That doesn’t mean I condone it, exactly the opposite – I simply understand that people would do this in order to feed their families) deforestation occurring in the region. The local governments (particularly, it seems, Peru) ignore the issue, denying these people even exist (Government – almost never the answer to any damn thing!). The experts who released the images want to protect the indigene and the environs they live in. I agree with them, to that point anyway.
Now for the fun, the parts I disagree with. They want these people to remain isolated and uncontacted and they are not interested in learning about their origins (specifically Jose Carlos dos Reis Meirelles [head of the Brazilian government's National Indian Foundation (FUNAI) unit that released the imaged in 2008] stated he didn't care to know their ethnic group).
Bullshit! If that is the sort of inquisitive mind we have to deal with, well it’s no wonder the world is in a mess!
I can understand some of where he is coming from, what with the history we have of colonialization, exploitation, and extermination/assimilation indigenous peoples - it’s a fair concern. BUT (and there is always a butt, isn’t there! Shockingly, it is quite often ME at the arse-end of an idea) while they are valid concerns they are not reasons to avoid contact. In fact, we have many good reasons to contact these people – which I will enumerate (list. Yes, I fell into a thesaurus):
1 – I am sick to tears of people and groups who want to speak for others! These paternalistic, arrogant asshats should let people speak for themselves (shocking concept, I know – for the people in question might not make the same decisions their beneficent spokes-weasels might. And GOD knows we cannot let people made their own decisions). And yes, this goes for groups who want to speak “For the Children” as well. We already have people to speak for children, they are called parents (and yes, I know some children don’t have parents or have crap/monsters for parents – and yes these children need protection. They don’t need are advocacy groups, they need people who will love and protect them and BE their parents! That would do a lot more good.)
2 – What we could learn! Primitive isn’t stupid, and they might know of plants for healing, interesting places – who knows what. And knowing their ethic extraction and linguistic family would add to our understanding of ourselves.
3 – The Stories! I want to know their mythology, cosmology, and their fairytales. I want to know what they tell their children when they put them down to sleep at night; what monsters they think hide in the dark places; and what they think of us.
4 – Despite the desire to keep them isolated, they already know something is out here and has seen them. They saw the damn airplane! So do we want some to wonder out of the jungles in a few decades looking for the Gods of their Cargo Cults? Do we want them to be so scared of the monsters we might be that they offer human sacrifices to keep us at bay?
So those are my arguments for contact. Now I am not suggesting full-bore contact, but careful contact by one or two people going in and trying to talk with them. They should know there are people out here, if nothing else. They should be made aware many are evil and would do them harm, and that if they come out to us they would most probably cease to exist as a people like they are now. They should also know that some of us want to simply know them and leave them alone. They should have a voice in what happens to them. We should not show off our technological magic, but they should know we have them.
And to end, I leave you with this thought. The one real evolutionary advantage our species has (other than our remarkable ability to jog for great distances) is our mind and the reasoning abilities it gives us. As that is the case, intentionally keeping a people ignorant is tantamount to a death sentence.
Be well my fiends! Your comments, critiques, and threats are welcome (though I have no problem sicking the authorities on anyone who makes a credible threat. I am a loud-mouth, not stupid… well, not far stupid anyway)
PS: I was going to title this post “The Indigene”, being that I like the sound of that word. But when I was double-checking the spelling (without spell checker my post would look like the deranged ramblings of a psychotic sociopath – and I want to keep that a secret ;) and as Indigene was not in the basic dictionary on Word I was using dictionary.com and I saw the listed synonyms and there was - Autochthon! How could I resist? It’s archaic, sounds positively erudite, and might fool people into thinking “Wow – this guy is smart! I want to have sex with him RIGHT NOW!”
Mahahaha(cough)! I know I have a rich fantasy world. Well at least they know me there, wished they liked me. They keep trying to get me to go to someone else’s fantasy world; thus I read a lot. It gives my fantasy people a break.