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Indigenous people and modernity

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What do your think of indigenous people having access to technology and modernity?

Here's a little anecdote I found interesting:

An indigenous guy was about to be interviewed in Brazil, and his cellphone rang.. The interviewer was a bit shocked and said "but aren't you an indigenous person? Shouldnt you not have a cellphone?"

To which he answered:

"Ok so, if that's what you think, then I get rid of my cellphone but then you better stop eating tomatoes, corn, potatoes, peanuts, chocolate, black beans, açaí berries and better find a new name for this country"
I think everyone has the same right to have access to the fantastic technologies currently proliferating across the planet. I'd say where we need to be wary is where they induce cultural homogenization and their use comes at the expense of traditional knowledge/wisdom.

As an example:
If a young person on the reservation learns Java instead of Navajo and moves to Silicon Valley and takes up a job at Google, integrates into tech culture and forgets their roots, this is a break in the wisdom chain and one step closer to the loss of that culture. However, if the young person learns Java and Navajo and develops an app that translates Navajo in real time and donates some of their big tech checks back to the tribe, this helps to both preserve and empower the culture on a variety of levels.

We can't live in the past, but nor is it wise to forget where we come from. I do believe that we can seek to strike a balance between the thousand generations of hard learned ancient wisdom and the exponentially increasing onslaught of the information age.
From my perspective, everybody should have (if they want) access to technology, including water, electricity, internet ..
Technology is not bad, it's just the use of, or the abuse of it make it not integrated to a sustainable life.
IF all common part of technology (understand what people can have access to), were built in a sustainable way, technology can afford us a lot of easier way of of life.
If smartphone could live more than 10y, if constructor could make long living form of object, if we thinked to recycling before building, technology should not be a problem, for environment, ressources and so .. In technology i include all the thing to transmit knowledge.
I like The Venus Project, for the perspective they think about a ressource based economy ( Home ). I think & believe this could solve the problem of a profit based economy, and all the problems it come with (environment, pullution etc..), or a good part of it.
All of the indigenous people anywhere, have had to pay the price for modernity. If there is oil in the ground on wich they live, or some rare earth metal, they will be violently forced to go elsewhere.
The waters where they use to fish are being depleted, and climate change threatens their way of life.

So if they are forcefully being dragged into our world and already experience the downside of modernity, then why shouldn't they be able to experience the sweet side as well?
A good deal of contact with modernity and technology for the few indigenous cultures that somehow survived the last 500 years is cooperations plundering their environment and mass tourism.
Therefore it is really important for them to also have other possibilities of contact, with people who respect their culture, way of living and want to get into mutual beneficial exchange. Sensible people staying out of there just leaves the contact to the predatory, psychopathic and reckless westerners.

A very important aspect of mindful contact is to show the importance and significance of their ancestral knowledge. Much of that is only known by the older people, with the younger generation not willing to learn. If these younger people notice that there is interest and opportunities associated with that knowledge, more of it might survive the process of technology spreading.

When done right, technology can enable indigenous communities to become more self reliant, self determined and powerful, participating in the course of history and sharing their language, culture and heritage (if they wish to do so).
They can also spread awareness of what is happening to them. An oil or mining cooperation will have a much harder time displacing a community, stealing their land, poisoning their water and food, when their actions are documented by this community and is getting viral on the internet.
In some ways, wanting traditional cultures to remain unaltered is just another way to exploit or even eradicate them.
By definition all cultures are growing, changing, and evolving. Just like a language that does not change is a 'dead language' a culture that does not change is a 'dead culture'. Just a museum curiosity and a way to amuse tourists.
Most new additions to a culture come from the outside and the 'flavor' or style of the culture is then adapted on to the new technologies. People often use the phrase 'cultural appropriation' as if it were a crime, but its where 99% of any culture comes from.
Attempts to 'preserve' cultures can be a weapon of genocide. Look at the native americans of the southwest. Traditionally they were semi-vegetarian agriculturalists with an advanced farming technology for pre-industrial peoples. They (supposedly) didnt have to bother growing peyote because it grew everywhere, when time came for a healing they just go out and harvest some. Times changed, the medicine became more popular, wild populations are no longer sustainable, but the notoriously racist government puts native americans in jail if they try to grow sacred peyote the way they grow sacred corn and use the excuse that growing peyote is not traditional and so doesnt have to be allowed. Theyre 'protecting' the natives from modernity by turning their living culture into a dead culture. Soon peyote will be extinct in the USA and museums will have a new dead culture to put on display.

All cultures that want to survive should grow and change, because culture is growth and change. What we should do is protect them from exploitation and genocide.
Dont make people pretend to be their great grandfathers.
dreamer042 said:
We can't live in the past, but nor is it wise to forget where we come from. I do believe that we can seek to strike a balance between the thousand generations of hard learned ancient wisdom and the exponentially increasing onslaught of the information age.

Couldn't have said it better myself.

However I find it a bit conflicting, because the very technology those people might use is usually comprised of components, whose creation was one way or another linked to the petrol and precious materials that lie beneath the lands of those people. So in a certain way they are using something that is partially responsible for the very destruction that plagues their existence.

I believe it is very easy to get "hooked up" to new and exciting tech, unraveling all the possibilities it offers, especially for someone who has never encountered such wondrous machines. That could potentially create demand for even more such product which will inevitably worsen the issue mentioned above.

It's a mixed bag imo. It's both good and bad. But if I were to pick one of those, I'd go for bad, since they will not lose out on anything significant if they stay away from tech and stick to their way of life dating back centuries.

Thanks for bringing that topic up endy, I've thought about it and never really put my thoughts into writing.

Much love. :love:
I'm not sure if this will come across as a sub-question and would require its own thread, but why the focus on preserve ancient culture? Surely it would make more sense to systematically learn the best things we can from these cultures and exploit their best practices while giving their people the means to integrate into the future.

I personally can't find a decent philosophical argument for preserving ancient culture beyond sentimentality (if we understand that the best practices and ideals will still survive).

I assume i'm missing something and have made an ethical left turn, and want to discuss to see if either im striking something unpopular but reasonable, or that i need to rethink my approach.
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