Wednesday, 1 September 2010

Another Ishi?





I stumbled on this story, written by Monte Reel on Slate.com, a few days ago and I suppose it goes some way to answering the question:


What would happen to Ishi today? 

A few Brazilians first heard of the lone Indian in 1996, when loggers in the western state of Rondônia began spreading a rumor: A wild man was in the forest, and he seemed to be alone.


Government field agents specializing in isolated tribes soon found one of his huts—a tiny shelter of palm thatch, with a mysterious hole dug in the center of the floor. As they continued to search for whoever had built that hut, they discovered that the man was on the run, moving from shelter to shelter, abandoning each hut as soon as loggers—or the agents—got close.


No other tribes in the region were known to live like he did, digging holes inside of huts—more than five feet deep, rectangular, serving no apparent purpose. He didn't seem to be a stray castaway from a documented tribe.


Eventually, the agents found the man. He was unclothed, appeared to be in his mid-30s (he's now in his late 40s, give or take a few years), and always armed with a bow-and-arrow. Their encounters fell into a well-worn pattern: tense standoffs, ending in frustration or tragedy. On one occasion, the Indian delivered a clear message to one agent who pushed the attempts at contact too far: an arrow to the chest.


Peaceful contact proved elusive, but those encounters helped the agents stitch together a profile of a man with a calamitous past. In one jungle clearing they found the bulldozed ruins of several huts, each featuring the exact same kind of hole—14 in all—that the lone Indian customarily dug inside his dwellings. They concluded that it had been the site of his village, and that it had been destroyed by land-hungry settlers in early 1996.

You can read the story: The Most Isolated Man On Earth. Here

I’m not sure what to make of this, in wishing to catch a glimpse of this disappearing world we’d destroy it, in leaving it alone we’d leave it for others to destroy. Let me know your thoughts.

Cheers
SBW

10 comments:

NorCal Cazadora said...

It just makes me want to cry.

They need to leave this guy alone. Ishi decided to come out into "civilization"; he wasn't forced out. This guy clearly wants nothing to do with us, and who can blame him? He might be the last truly sane man on earth.

I am Stan said...

Yo Wacker,

Yeah I wish these people could be left alone,but the worlds ever increasing demand for raw materials, curiosity and do gooder`s who think these tribes need civilizing makes it unlikely,its a bit like all these Egyptian tombs that they keep opening,for fucks sake its someones place of rest,leave em be!.

The Suburban Bushwacker said...

NorCal

Me too, it's heart breaking isn't it.
I'm not sure Ishi's arrival was what we'd know as informed free choice, but his decision to stay looks as though it was.

I say leave him be, but the buttinski within desperately wants to know what the holes are for?
SBW

The Suburban Bushwacker said...

Stan d'man
Said it before but it bears saying again. Modern life is rubbish.
SBW

Tovar said...

I'm with you and Holly on this. Heartbreaking. Though the greatest harm happened not in recent months, but in 1996, or 1792, or earlier.

Have you read Orson Scott Card's novel Pastwatch? An interesting, time-traveling spin on the European invasion of the Americas.

Le Loup said...

I think everyone hear has already said it, heartbreaking. I don't know what the answere is, but we simply can't keep destroying the earth's wilderness.

The Suburban Bushwacker said...

Tovar

Sounds good - It's on the list
SBW

The Suburban Bushwacker said...

LL

I just feel so powerless as I look at this; the consequences of our industrial revolution are a never ending land grab. Our conceit that we even have a voice in halting this,is a big part of the story, who are we to say that other parts of the world shouldn't have what is still regarded as 'progress'? As the article says the locals are still desperate to gain land - even if it's not used.Madness.
SBW

Tovar said...

I was obviously half-asleep when I posted that comment. I meant to write 1492, not 1792. Apparently, I've been reading and thinking too much about 18th century history.

The Suburban Bushwacker said...

Tovar
LOL is it possible to spend too much time thinking about 18th C history?
SBW