there are only around 100 undocumented indigenous groups throughout the world, a number that’s dwindling thanks to “developed” nations’ environmental degradation and insatiable urge to
colonize explore. many of the tribes have consciously eschewed integration into industrialized society, instead choosing agrarian lifestyles that tie them closer to their ancestry and cultural traditions.
the mascho-piro, an indigenous group whose size is unknown, has escaped european colonization and lives isolated in the andean mountains of peru. however, members of the tribe, pictured above, were recently captured on camera; the pictures published by a british-based advocacy group. as a result, the peruvian government is imploring people to leave them alone, especially because even indirect contact could spread deadly diseases among the tribe. remember how native american populations in north america and the caribbean were decimated by smallpox? exactly.
the entire concept of encroaching upon another’s land and way of life–unwelcomed–is voyeuristic and predatory. would you go to your neighbors’ home, open the front door (without knocking) walk into their bedroom and take a picture of them? what about go through their refrigerator, sit down at their kitchen table, make a meal and leave without washing the dishes? absolutely not. the mascho-piro and other indigenous groups are no different.
western society has a long history not only of colonization and domination, but also of creating spectacles out of indigenous people and their traditions. sara bartman’s story proves this; a captured african slave, she was paraded around europe and displayed as a freak because of her physical shape. upon her death, ms. bartman was dismembered, her body parts placed on display at a parisian museum. unfortunately, her story is not unique. how many indigenous groups and their descendants are forced to visit museums to see their people’s artifacts and get a sense of their history? *raises hand*
i think the mascho-piro should treat it as an act of war if another person attempts to make contact with them. they’re a sovereign people and using lethal force might be necessary to ensure their safety. just ask that dude who got shot in the heart by an arrow after leaving them food. oh wait, he’s dead.