“Secrets of the Tribe:” The Movie

The Controversy Lives on

I finally sat down to watch “Secrets of the Yanomami” (or Yanomamö).  I’m glad I set my video recorder to 2 hrs, otherwise I would have missed the coda.  This documentary spares no one (and If you don’t know what I mean you should definitely do the research).

All of the players get their moment from Neel to Chagnon to Levi-Strauss and Tizot to Good to the Salesians.  Unfortunately, Marvin Harris was not present to reiterate his claim that Chagnon was a sociopath.  No one came away unscathed.  I can’t go into a detailed review because – I don’t have the time or space to repeat what is already well known.

The Yanomami have unknowingly upset the anthropological establishment and caused an ongoing controversy over whether anthropology is indeed a science or some other social discipline.

Let it just be known that it appears to be balanced (I’m sure some will disagree), the production values are good, and it is sure to fuel years of continued controversy over academia’s effect on one of the last undiscovered tribes.  If there are any others they should keep it to themselves.

Heisenberg made the observation that if you know where something is, you cannot know its velocity and there is no way to preserve the state of innocence of an uncontacted society once they have met an alien.


About carlos

I'm a curious person, of reasonable intellect, "on the beach" (retired) and enjoying my interest in anthropology, language, civil rights, and a few other areas. I've been a hippie/student/aerospace tech writer in the '60s, a witness to the Portuguese revolution in the ‘70s, a defense test engineer and witness to the Guatemalan genocide in the '80s, and a network engineer for an ISP in the '90s. Now I’m a student and commentator until my time is up. I've spent time under the spell of the Mesoamerican pyramids and the sweet sound of the Portuguese language. I've lived in Europe, traveled in Brazil, Central America, Iceland, New Zealand, and other places. My preferred mode of travel is with a backpack and I eat (almost) anything local. Somehow, many of the countries I have been to have had civil unrest (for which I was not responsible). I'm open to correspond with anyone who might share my liberal, humanist interests. I live in San Buenaventura, California.
This entry was posted in Anthropology and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.