Friday, May 30, 2008

Tribes no longer "uncontacted" because of idiocy in Brazil

Uncontacted tribe photographed near Brazil-Peru

OK, so I can fully appreciate wanting to observe, study and learn all we can about the small, uncontacted tribes that live in extremely isolated areas of the world. They can give us an insight into human evolution, culture and history. They provide a window to our past, and possibly some opportunities to influence the future.

But this is ridiculous!

These tribesmen are probably scared shitless by the "flying god" that was hovering over their little village (note that in several of the pictures, tribesmen are aiming arrows at the helicopter, and what looks to be a shaman or tribal leader painted in black urging them on). Without doubt, the sight and sound of such an amazingly alien craft would not only frighten and amaze them, but completely change their world. One single act of stupidity, and they've gone from being completely isolated and "uncontacted", to being at least a little cognizant of something outside their limited area of life and view of their world.

Why didn't the Brazilian government, who did this exploration, use some other far less invasive and intrusive means to look for tribes like this one? Use an unmanned drone aircraft! Borrow some satellite time! Anything other than a low-altitude helicopter!

A Predator drone (like the ones used by the US Army in Iraq and Afghanistan) is able to fly at altitudes that put it out of sight from the ground. It's engines are so small that no sound is detectable, and yet it can still take extremely high resolution still and video pictures of anything the operator wishes. They're also cheap to operate, can fly for 10's of hours at a time without landing or refueling, and can travel hundreds of miles per flight (none of which a helicopter can do).

Instead of treating these innocent, untrammeled tribes with respect, decency and honor, they've made a showcase of them for the amusement of the "civilized" world. And by using such a stupid, asinine method of observation, the Brazilian government has probably changed the course of this one tribe's future forever.

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