May 6, 2003 2:21 PM   Subscribe

At first glance, Vanuatu looks like your average island community in Oceania, where there's plenty of sightseeing, you can buy a house if you decide to stay, or open an international business if you need a tax haven. But it is also host to some of the most remote and untouched bush tribes in the world.
posted by evening (13 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
With the village's child mortality rate topping 30 percent, it's probably best that advancements and new ideas enter the bush tribe mindset.

I think it's very important to remember this. No matter how romantic it may seem to have these ancient cultures around forever, we're still talking about cultures in which people die needlessly. People aren't museum exhibits, and voluntary progress is a good thing.
posted by Pretty_Generic at 2:34 PM on May 6, 2003

...taking an hour to explain to the high chief what happened on September 11, 2001 to the "biggest village" in America.

All of the places, things, and concepts involved in this event are so unfamiliar, nay, implausable to these isolated people. I couldn't help but imagine how the conversation went. It must have sounded to them as some of the Biblical stories and Nostradamus's prophecies do to us modern people.
posted by mnology at 2:52 PM on May 6, 2003

The people are raw and free—animism and black magic form the foundation of their beliefs.

Boy, does that sentence rub me the wrong way. For one thing, it implies an extremely ambiguous causality between the group's religious beliefs and their lack of modernity/sophistication/whatever. "Raw and free" manages to be both romanticizing and condescending. And "black magic"?! Give me a freaking break. This guy may have "the heart of an anthropologist," but he has the pen of a tabloid writer.
posted by hippugeek at 3:08 PM on May 6, 2003 [1 favorite]

Not trying to threadjack here, but does anyone remember some loons from the early 90s talking about building a floating city named.. Oceana.. Oceania.. i dunno...

this made me think of that, and i'm so high right now i can't even manage a google search successfully
posted by shadow45 at 3:23 PM on May 6, 2003

This guy may have "the heart of an anthropologist," but he has the pen of a tabloid writer.

Heh heh. As a card carrying anthropologist, I have to agree, it's pretty sensationalistic, but then look at the source. National Geographic is meant to popularize science, not profess it according to the ethics of particular disciplines. Avoiding the pitfalls of political correctness, it's all good, I guess, as long as people are informed and entertained.

Heck, it sounds better than my reports, which have been known to cure insomnia and induce unconsciousness in those with compromised willpower.
posted by elendil71 at 3:30 PM on May 6, 2003

Ah, National Geographic, of the infamous Swimsuit Issue.

...some of the most remote and untouched bush tribes in the world.

Not for long...
posted by Artifice_Eternity at 3:49 PM on May 6, 2003

There was something inexplicable about the houses, except one snappy little two-story two-bedroom freshly painted number overlooking a lagoon....
posted by hama7 at 4:37 PM on May 6, 2003

shadow45: That would be Oceania, the imagined floating city-state devoted to libertarian freedom. In a similar vein, we have Freedom Ship, designed to be a giant floating shopping mall and cruise ship.

Who needs 'em, with all these little island states to suit every taste.
posted by sfenders at 5:40 PM on May 6, 2003

A place where nobody dared to go

The love that we came to know

They call it Vanuatu.

And now open your eyes and see
What we have made is real.
We are in Vanuatu.

Vanuatu - Vanuatu (now we are here)
In Vanuatu
Vanuatu - Vanuatu (now we are here)
in Vanuatu

your neon lights will shine
For you Vanuatu.
posted by mr_crash_davis at 6:18 PM on May 6, 2003

A place where nobody dared to go..


...some of the most remote and untouched bush tribes in the world.

Not for long...

I agree. This guy says, "Oh look at these grand people, untouched by modern civilization," and then fuks it up. He wants them to be modernized..
posted by firestorm at 7:28 PM on May 6, 2003

But we have always been at war with Oceania.

He wants them to be modernized.

I'll say: The women were often difficult to approach; they were incredibly shy. A number of times, though, I had special moments with them. !

Seriously, though, stone-age subsistence farming isn't something that anybody should wish on anybody else, contemporary analogues to Rousseau notwithstanding. Modernity tends to expand regardless of anthropologists' care, and it's not clear that it's any more of an ethical sin to bring (say) 21st century medicine to the bush than it is not to. It is certainly possible for persons to individually choose how much of the modern world they will accept into their lives.
posted by dhartung at 8:46 PM on May 6, 2003

Vanuatu is also home to some very delicious offshore banking.
posted by i blame your mother at 9:01 PM on May 6, 2003

...some of the most remote and untouched bush tribes in the world... I was, incredibly, as the villagers like to say, "the first white man in Mareki." ... ...At just over four feet tall and bearing a bone through her nose, she might very well be one of the oldest bush women in the South Pacific.

Jesus, it's like a parody of the worst of the old "nekkid exotic women! bones in noses!" National Geographic. Talk about tabloid writing. "Bush tribes," forsooth.
posted by languagehat at 8:33 AM on May 7, 2003 [1 favorite]

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