Connectivity: Engulf or Participate?

circulo_xavante.jpg Can’t pass up an article with “Peril” in its title:
“I don’t think it’s a good thing, because it’s a threat to our culture,” said Tsereptse, who carries a bow and arrow with him at all times as a symbol of his position.

Some of the tribe’s younger members have been trying to convince Tsereptse that computers will have the exact opposite effect — that they can be tools to record and preserve Xavante folklore and traditions, and to disseminate them all over the world.

Awaiting Internet Access, Remote Brazilian Tribes Debate Its Promise, Peril,By Monte Reel, Washington Post Foreign Service, Friday, July 6, 2007; Page A08

These are members of the Xavante tribe in Mato Grosso state in Brazil. They don’t have electricity yet, but they’ve decided to get Internet access. Why?

The theory (among outsiders) is:

The federal government this year announced a new program to provide satellite Internet access to 150 remote communities, in hopes that they will be better equipped to protect themselves against illegal logging and other threats to their culture. Industry giants such as Google and Intel also have recently launched projects to provide high-tech assistance in the area.
It will be interesting to see how this turns out. I don’t know if the villagers can use the Internet to protect themselves. I do know loggers and ranchers and missionaries and others will surely use it to exploit them or foist their views on the tribes. So I would guess it’s best for the tribes to use the Internet to gain knowledge and context and even more to participate. It’s harder to exploit someone if the world can see the exploitee’s point of view through the Internet.


1 thought on “Connectivity: Engulf or Participate?

  1. Morris Young

    If a man comes to your front door and says he is conducting a survey And asks you to show him your bum, do not show him your bum. This is a scam. He only wants to see your bum. I wish I had got this yesterday. I feel so stupid and cheap. -The Bum

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