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Meet the natives of England and America
October 31, 2011 8:22 PM   Subscribe

Not content to keep funding expeditions of Westerners to learn about Tanna, in 2007 the National Geographic funded an expedition of five men from Tanna's Prince Philip movement cargo cult to visit England, stay with families, and eventually meet Prince Philip himself whom they revere as the son of their God. Jimmy, who was a member of the expedition and the narrator for the film has posted the video on his youtube account. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 In 2009 the Travel Channel aired Meet the Natives: USA, which brought five men from another group from Tanna to the United States. Their tribe within Tanna reveres Tom Navy, an American World War II sailor who generations ago had taught the inhabitants to live in peace. The Tanna ambassadors were taken across, visiting five states, and eventually meeting former United States Secretary of State Colin Powell and verifying with him that the spirit of peace taught by Tom Navy lives on in the current U.S. President, Barack Obama. While visiting with a family on Fort Stewart, a US Army Major-General conferred a World War II Victory Medal and an Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal upon the chief in representation of the contribution the people of Tanna in World War II. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 Be sure to look for Jimmy's responses to questions in the mercifully uncharacteristic youtube comments

Tanna has been featured previously and much previouslier, while the concept has gained traction and generated a newer show on a tribe from Papua New Guinea featured previously
posted by Blasdelb (16 comments total) 40 users marked this as a favorite

 
Amazing. I remember an article about Tanna in Nat. Geo. decades ago.
posted by zomg at 8:39 PM on October 31, 2011


Wow, I juuust finished watching "Return of the Tribe" (your final, PNG link) in its entirety. Such a fantastic story/premise, and I was just going to surf for similar encounters. Will report back, thanks!
posted by obscurator at 9:03 PM on October 31, 2011


I saw this a while back (one of the US families lives nearish me so it made big regional news) and I loved it. One of the things that makes it particularly interesting is that the Tannans have their own translator and their own camera so they're fairly assertive presenting their point of view, which is refreshing. I thought it was interesting that in the UK they met the working class, middle class, and upper class "tribes," while in the US they focused on different regional "tribes."

It was also full of people being decent people. Everyone involved was interested and open to learning about new things and people, both the Tannans and the Brits and Americans. I learned a lot and -- as intended -- looked at my own culture differently.

Perhaps you could point out some of Jimmy's comments, I am apparently not good at navigating youtube comments, having never done it on purpose before.
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 9:23 PM on October 31, 2011


I too recently finished watching "Return of the Tribe," and one thing I noticed about this new "Meet the Natives" series is that on both trips, only men were sent, while the Papua New Guinea people sent both men and women. Does Tanna have a more patriarchal culture? It's too bad, because the reaction of the wives to Western society was often quite interesting to watch, different to that of the chief and his hunters.
posted by Harvey Kilobit at 10:08 PM on October 31, 2011


My aunt is a fairly well known linguist, and she went to PNG in the 60s, back when it was still really uncharted. She made friends with a tribal woman around her own age, and brought her back for a short visit to the States. I would love to hear more about that from her some day...

I also remember reading from MF a story about an anthropologist who took a Brazillian (?) tribal girl as his bride and brought her back to live in the States. A lot of creepy vibe in that story (she was very underage by Western standards), and eventually she decided to go back.
posted by Meatbomb at 10:20 PM on October 31, 2011


I also remember reading from MF a story about an anthropologist who took a Brazillian (?) tribal girl as his bride and brought her back to live in the States. A lot of creepy vibe in that story (she was very underage by Western standards), and eventually she decided to go back.

Pretty sure that you're talking about Kenneth Good.
posted by dd42 at 10:40 PM on October 31, 2011 [2 favorites]


Karl Pilkington weighs in.
posted by Decani at 12:09 AM on November 1, 2011


Meet the natives is a brilliant show
posted by dydecker at 3:22 AM on November 1, 2011


Does anyone else feel weird about the editing that makes it look like it should be some fictional film, like The Gods Must Be Crazy? Like that scene in the first video where the elder says "And if you see a woman that looks nice don't touch her" and one of the guys' smiles comically drops off his face?
posted by Mooseli at 3:32 AM on November 1, 2011


12 links in on the first film, excellent show, am really enjoying getting to know the guys. I feel bad for JJ, who looks less and less comfortable every time the chief goes off on his Prince Philip speil.
posted by Iteki at 8:58 AM on November 1, 2011


Youtube comment from USA 21,

It is sad and touching to see which part in the american society is the left for the native americans and their cultural heritage. in a amusement park under a rollercoaster. this is the modern reality of this unique and dissapearing culture. i think the tanna people, coming from a very traditional background, understood the situation in a more deep way than it was introduced by this OC family. dont think this family could intruduce them to any culture at all.
posted by Blasdelb at 6:25 PM on November 1, 2011


My kingdom for something that would seamlessly stitch 30 Youtube links into something I can watch from the couch with a remote. This is what I hate about people uploading lengthy items to Youtube. I see a stack of Youtube links on the blue and I don't even try.
posted by pashdown at 8:12 PM on November 1, 2011 [1 favorite]


For what its worth, I sit back in a comfy chair with a wireless mouse hovering over the top left corner of the frame to click every 8-9 minutes with a beer. The beer helps with frustration.
posted by Blasdelb at 9:22 PM on November 1, 2011


This is great, thanks for posting it!
posted by LobsterMitten at 10:12 PM on November 1, 2011


Oh, Prince Philip, please never go there
posted by Adventurer at 12:46 AM on November 2, 2011


"Perhaps you could point out some of Jimmy's comments, I am apparently not good at navigating youtube comments, having never done it on purpose before."

Eyebrows, this is one of my favorites, but you can usually pick find Jimmy's comments as they are among the most favorited.

i dont like it when people say how innocent they are. they are full grown men. they are innocent in our ways. but i think when people say they are innocent they veiw them as child like. i see them as full grown and knowing adults
sidney4747 1 year ago 17


Thank you sidney4747.

When people say things like that, they are being nice to us, so we happily accept their nice words. But when you see it happen, it sometimes looks like they are not knowing that we know much about human nature. We are not 'innocent' as much as we appear. We simply can choose more freely to accept or decline the western ways.
VanuatuVeritas 1 year ago 25

posted by Blasdelb at 6:35 PM on November 2, 2011 [1 favorite]


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