Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Meeting a Stone Age Tribe

Update: I've been punked. If you look at the comment at the bottom of this post, this video is a fake. These "primitives" are natives already in contact with civilization and were staged to make this "first encounter" film. Oh well. It just goes to show that you can't trust what you find on the Internet. There are people out there less interested in sharing experiences and information than they are in taking advantage of gullibility.

The comment on this post points me at this site which states:
This charming video is a fake. The white man you see in the video is Belgian filmmaker Jean-Pierre Dutilleux. The Papua New Guinea natives are members of the Toulambi tribe. This fake "first encounter" between the natives and a white skinned visitor was filmed around 1993. Before then, these excellent "actors" had already met with at least three ethnologists: Pierre Lemonnier in 1985, Jadran Mimica in 1979 and Pascale Bonnemère in 1987.

Anthropologist Pierre Lemonnier who denounced this documentary as fraud in an article for the French Newspaper Liberation, studied the Papuans of the district of Marawaka for over a decade and says that the supposedly "unknown tribe" lives less then four days away by foot from an administrative center with teachers, a landing strip, a radio, nurses and of course a preacher (it's important for the natives to know that they’re going to hell : / ). They also use the Vailala River to travel to the coast to exchange handmade tableware made out of tree back for modern tools.

In an article that Lemonnier gave to the French magazine “Terrain” published in 1999, he explained that a male nurse from the administrative center spread rumors about a new undiscovered tribe. That he send a Papua guide ahead of the camera crew to “coach” the tribe on how to act. They were also told to hide their metal tools, plastic goods and “regular clothes” (jeans and T-shirts).

Why did the nurse do it? Well the tribe lived in malaria stricken zone and the nurse got six months worth of quinine tablets and various other medicines for his troubles.

Sadly, the lead actor of the “skit” told Lemonnier that he felt so much shame from having to pretend to be afraid of his own reflection, tasting matches and spiting out rice that it drove him to tears.


Here is an interesting series of videos where a stone age New Guinean tribe meets white man for the first time. I always find it fascinating to get this kind of glimpse into the past. Human nature is universal. But first encounters can be very dangerous for both sides. I'm not adventurous enough to run the risk.

From Tribal Journeys: The Toulambi a series by Jean-Pierre Dutilleux.

I get frustrated by the "pre-civilization life is better" nonsense. I prefer an assured food supply, a nice home with all the conveniences, entertainment, education, and medical care. The fact that he is giving them medicine for malaria shows that their lifestyle leaves them with much wanting. I also find it odd, if the narrator is as convinced that "civilization is bad" why create this encounter? There is something dishonest about his presentation. These people have as much right as anybody to decide just how much "encounter" they want to have with the modern world. I'm pretty sure that if they were given a choice, they would take civilization over their current precarious lifestyle.

Remember in the last video he points out they "lost their drums" to another tribe. They live a marginal existence filled with fears and threats that they don't understand. The wonderful fact about modern civilization is that we have science and education which gives us a great deal of knowledge about our world. Knowledge is power and control. Reasonable people want that and not wandering ignorantly in the jungle prey to disease, attack, and accidents.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...


Anthropologist Pierre Lemonnier who exposed this documentary as fraud in an article for the French Newspaper “Liberation” studied the Papuans for over a decade and says that the "unknown tribe" lives less then 4 days away by foot from an dispensary with a landing strip, radio and nurses. They also use the Vailala River to travel to the coast to sell handmade goods.

For more info Google: LOULOUVILLE + FAKE