Secrets Of The Tribe


Secrets Of The Tribe

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Filmmaker Jose Padilha examines the ethical peccadilloes and procedural failings of a handful of anthropologists, with a tribe of native people suffering the consequences, in this documentary. In 1929, researchers first discovered the Yanomamo Indians, an indigenous tribe living in Brazil along the Amazon. The Yanomami were believed to be perhaps the last band of primitive peoples essentially untouched by civilization, and they became a favorite subject of study among anthropologists, especially in the 1960s. However, different studies of the Yanomami produced wildly different conclusions -- one book on the tribe described them as a warlike people who often fought amongst themselves, while another celebrated their society in which violence was little known. While different research teams may have had different perceptions of the Yanomamo tribe, nearly all of them made the mistake of interfering in the lives of their subjects, with disastrous results. Kenneth Good didn't just study the tribe, he married a 13-year-old Yanomamo girl, while Jacques Lizot frequently paid teenage Yanomamo boys for sex. Western anthropologists also unwittingly exposed the Yanomami to diseases for which they had no immunity, leading to widespread illness and death among the natives. In time, the Yanomami began actively driving anthropologists away, angry over the way in which their culture had been spoiled for the benefit of others. Secrets Of The Tribe was an official selection at the 2010 Sundance Film Festival.


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