Proud Not Primitive

Proud Not Primitive - Survival International supporting tribal peoples

I want to share this awareness-raising campaign with you. I support an organisation called Survival International. Their work involves campaigning with, and on behalf of, groups of indigenous peoples all over the world whose land, livelihoods and lives are under threat from so-called ‘development’.

Proud Not Primitive is a particularly focused campaign that seeks to highlight the misguided arrogance of the world’s powerful (both governments and big business) in their drive to ‘help’ and to ‘improve’ the lives of indigenous peoples.

This short satirical film, written by Oren Ginzburg and narrated by UK comedian, David Mitchell, tells the story of this destruction of the lives of tribal peoples in the name of ‘development’.

For me this film really makes you think, what do we really mean by ‘development’?

J Peggy Taylor

4 thoughts on “Proud Not Primitive

  1. This is very interesting. Indigenous is definetly not equal to primitive. Australian Aborigines have lived on the continent for probably as long as 60.000 years and have managed to live of and with the land. Settlers can’t say the same. From an archaeological standpoint (I studied that a few years ago), we have a lot to learn from them!

    1. I certainly agree, San. I think it is so easy for us to be completely consumed with our own ‘consumer society’ – we really do need to appreciate how much we could learn from the planet-friendly ways of life of these small tribal groups. We talk about being environmentally friendly and many of us do our own small part, but these people really ‘do’ it, don’t they!

      1. At the end of the 19th/beginning of the 20th century there was this cultural evolution theory saying that societies move from primitive/tribal to chieftains to more developed societies like in this day and age. It’s a very ‘etic’ standpoint. Think about the stolen generation in Australia. Have you seen ‘Rabbitproof fence’? It makes me sad that people are capable of doing that. This cultural evolution theory is no longer supported by archaeologists because most people wouldn’t be able to survive conditions the so called primitive people live in. And that’s just it, they’re not primitive. We’ve lost many skills and we’re far removed from nature. One doesn’t necessarily have to agree with everything small tribal groups are doing, but they tend to not take more than they need. And I don’t agree with everything modern people are doing either. Who are we to say they can’t live like that? Or that it’s in any way less valuable? Who’s happier for it?

      2. That’s a really interesting comment, San. Thank you. I’ve not studied formally in this area but I have read quite a few articles over time about how badly the developed world has treated indigenous peoples. I would definitely agree that we have lost so many skills as a result of our own ‘development’ – for example land management skills that would be much more beneficial and planet friendly. I think we would not necessarily agree with all the practices carried out by tribal groups … but then we already don’t agree with many practices carried out in our own countries … especially from the point of view of protecting the natural environment!

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