Indigenous tribe a publicity stunt

Okay, well…not ENTIRELY.

In a previous post, I pointed out that the main reason contact was made with this tribe was to highlight the fact that they exist in order to curb the unchecked clear cutting in the Amazonian rain forest. This morning, the Guardian broke the story that the tribe’s existence has been known since 1910, and:

the mission to photograph them was undertaken in order to prove that ‘uncontacted’ tribes still existed in an area endangered by the menace of the logging industry.

The disclosures have been made by the man behind the pictures, José Carlos Meirelles, 61, one of the handful of sertanistas – experts on indigenous tribes – working for the Brazilian Indian Protection Agency, Funai, which is dedicated to searching out remote tribes and protecting them.

While I do not disparage Funai’s cause or reasoning, their methods may have just set that cause back substantially. Something happens in people’s minds when they feel they have been swindled, whether justifiably or not. There is no question that the clear cutting is a global concern with far reaching effects. But to give the public a focus for that concern, causing an emotional connection, and then revealing that they were, in fact, misled will no doubt garner backlash that has the potential of harming the very thing they wish to protect. Public interest and goodwill only extend so far.

While I do not waver in my support of the cessation of clear cutting or the protection of the Amazon’s indigenous tribes, I find the methodology of this group reprehensible, and fear for the fallout. For those tribes, and that area, this can only be seen as an unfortunate set back.

4 responses to “Indigenous tribe a publicity stunt

  1. 1910?! The only thing known in 1910 is that there were uncontacted tribes living all over the Amazon.

    FUNAI never claimed the tribe was “undiscovered”, rather that the tribe was living without contact with outsiders (i.e., uncontacted). That’s true, so what has changed?

  2. leftcoastlibrul

    Did you read the articles? It states:

    “They are the amazing pictures that were beamed around the globe: a handful of warriors from an ‘undiscovered tribe’ in the rainforest on the Brazilian-Peruvian border brandishing bows and arrows at the aircraft that photographed them.

    Or so the story was told and sold. But it has now emerged that, far from being unknown, the tribe’s existence has been noted since 1910…”

    1. The date 1910 is clearly noted.
    2. The tribe’s status as “undiscovered” was misrepresented.

  3. I think that the article is the problem, so referring to it cannot settle the matter.

    It was never said that the tribe was unknown or undiscovered, especially as they live within a reserve dedicated to the protection of vulnerable, isolated tribes (a bit of a giveaway).

    The tribe was and remains ‘uncontacted’: no outsider has been known to have any peaceful contact with its members.

    These two things have been mixed up by a journalist trying to create news from an old story and a lot of people have jumped on it.

  4. leftcoastlibrul

    I’ll go along with that. Although people should certainly use a more critical eye when reading some of these sensational stories (me included), I think the story could’ve been reported a bit more responsibly.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s