The destruction of tribal peoples in the name of ‘development’ – invariably because outsiders want their land and its resources – continues to be the most acute problem they face. It is not confined to poor countries.
In Canada, the Innu Indians of Labrador and Quebec have been settled in communities which are subject to the ‘development’ depicted in ‘There you go!’. The Innu were selfsufficient as recently as the 1960s.Now, very few hunt the caribou or fish the lakes they once depended on. Grossly insensitive schooling, total dependency on welfare programmes and the resulting abject poverty have
largely destroyed their way of life and demolished their self-esteem.Domestic violence and the cheapest forms of drug abuse – gas sniffing and alcoholism – are rife. Some communities have the highest suicide rate in the world and every family knows at least one teenager who has killed him or herself.
Canada says it will negotiate about their land rights, but only once the Indians have abandoned them. It is no accident that Innu territory includes some of the world’s richest nickel deposits. The Innu have not given up: they are struggling to fight
back, but they face powerful odds and grossly out-of-date prejudice.
The future for tribal peoples doesn’t have to be as depicted in this book. In the 1970s one of the largest
Amazonian tribes, the Yanomami, was threatened by the destruction of its land to make way for Brazil’s
road programme. Despite the international campaign Survival launched to defend the Indians, about
20% of Yanomami tragically died from diseases brought in by gold miners.
The campaign was victorious in 1992,when all Yanomami land was secured. Although their problems are not over,
the Indians now have their own organisation to press for their rights.In some communities, children are
learning from their own teachers and in their own schools how to cope with outside threats. The Yanomami remain true to the best of their traditions.
They do not see themselves as poor or backward, and can expect to lead fulfilling lives – as Yanomami – for
generations to come. To read, watch and hear more about tribal peoples and find out how you
can help, please visit: www.survival-international.org
This is a piece of reading that will shake you up. What is says is not new. It is not driven by conventional scientific thinking. But, in cartoons, it speaks to what is the end result of our actions, what may be the end results of our actions if we are not fully aware of the unintended consequences of what we do or fail to do, independent of our best intentions.
Downlaod the booklet by Oren_Ginzberg_There_you_go