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Nomads Of The Rainforest Evolving In The Ethnosphere

1292 words - 5 pages

Change is inevitable. Cultures around the world have been evolving over time and deeply entrenched traditions have passed from generation to generation. However, with the evolution of technology and the homogenization of our “smaller” world, many traditions have been discarded or minimized and our ethnic differences have dissipated. Wade Davis (2007) is troubled by the idea that a quest for power is destroying the unique expression of the human spirit across the globe while Thomas Sowell (1990) considers cultural change as a dynamic process that evolves from things that prove effective over time and those that don’t disappear. Mark Plotkin, an ethnobotonist, is embarking on projects that provide a more balanced approach in tackling the cultural diversity issue and minimizing the erosion of cultural diversity. He is merging the two scientists’ understanding of culture and its evolution into the homogenized world culture. Plotkin is attempting to create a movement that embraces the cultural traditions that are essential to the future of mankind by incorporating new technologies. Plotkin is bringing the modern world, with Google’s cooperation, to tribal cultures to enable these diverse cultures to maintain their identity while incorporating technology thus managing their environments more efficiently (Plotkin, 2009). This approach will allow many unique cultures to maintain diversity yet, as Davis eloquently says, they will evolve and “dance with new possibilities of life” (Davis, 2007). Nomads of the Rainforest (1997) is a film that focuses on a tribe in Ecuador called the Waorani. As a case study, the Waorani people would be a perfect selection to address the ability to bring the new world into a savage world.
The Waorani are a mysterious people due to the fact that their savagery was brushed against the landscape of an egalitarian society in which all people were equal and must contribute to their society. According to Wade Davis (1997) the Waorani lifestyle is intertwined with the rainforest, which is critical to their maintaining their centuries long traditional nomadic lifestyle. Davis illustrates their culture and motivations to provide an understating of their beliefs, relationships, and savagery. Grant Behrman’s (2000) documentary attempts to create a picture of their close-knit relationships and their desire for autonomy. Several decades ago, missionaries landed on their land and seemed to be warmly received and entertained by the tribe. This encounter was false since after dark the Waorani brutally killed them by their treasured spears, a tradition that starts with boys as early as eight-years-old (Behrman, 2000).
Many years later the savagery of these people seemed to reject the depiction provided in the film. The idea that Davis’ encounter with the Waorani and the details he gained about the ecosystem and their culture through direct contact is in contrast to the ideas of their intense savagery and seeing all intruders...

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