OK, so there are forgotten tribes of strange indians in the rainforests, who have had absolutely no contact with other humans in god knows how long. Seems kind of Pulp-novel-ish to me, which is very cool of course, so I guess I’ll write something on the subject.
First of all, I really loathe all the “back to nature” romanticists. You know, the people who claim we were really better off living in primitive huts or caves, spending every waking hour hunting for food. People who think indian religion is any more relevant than modern-day christianity or islam. You know the ones I’m talking about. The ones with fake-indian-style posters with wolf motifs, the ones who claim we should go back to more “Natural Ways of Living”. We’ve spend 10.000 years trying to get away from what you call nature, and that’s for good reason. We now live longer and have much more time to spend on finding out new neat stuff about ourselves. We finally have the time to do some serious social and mental evolution, and these people want to go backwards? Fuck them. We, the entire world of mankind, is constantly evolving, changing into something better. Butterflies from ugly larvae.
Anyways, not a big fan of “natural” ways of life, I am. Neither am I especially embracing of the doctrine of conservation of culture. Culture evolves, constantly. Trying to conserve nature in some kind of pristine state is juwst foolish – not too long ago, it was “culture” around these parts to beat your wife and your kids. Great kind of culture, right? Culture is everything, and older forms of culture are, generally, not as good as more recent forms. I can understand documenting culture, for archival purposes (even though we now know that both observer and observed are changed by the process of observation; especially in cultural studies). So? Take a bunch of pictures, learn the language and document it, jot down as much about the culture as you can or feel the need to.
But then, please, don’t let these people live their life the way they are. Give them access to modern medicine and technology. Use the next few generations to ease them into the IT age. Kids learn fast. Give them OLPC’s and watch them be creative with it. These people could be much more than they are, and their culture, like that of those precious fucking north-american indians, is obsoltet. Ready for upgrade. Allowing these people to live on as they do is terrible. It’s like stunting their growth. Civilizations and cultures evolve in contact with other cultures.
The death of an obsolete culture, like the death of a language, is not a thing to mourn. It is a thing to rejoice.