posted on Jun, 9 2010 @ 01:36 PM
reply to post by Blue Shift
An excellent point about the "human zoo", which points to several dangers of Western people's wishes and needs to keep an illusion of certain
"pristine" cultures. Take the San (Bushmen) peoples in southern Africa. Many Western anthropologists made their careers by spending a few weeks in
the Kalahari, and then writing with great authority on the "prehistoric" hunter-gatherers (when most have been semi-settled and herders since 1900).
This view of the San meant that they were denied development aid given to their neighbors from other tribes, and they could enjoy neither the advances
of modernism or their pre-colonial lifestyle. They became squatters and ciphers, partly because of anthroplogical discourse. It was almost like: "No,
don't give them clothes, us Western Anthropologists need pictures of them naked"!
However, thinking creatively about history, and imagining a time-machine is probably not the same as not appreciating human diversity at present. I
mean, I'd love to see how they built pyramids and so forth for many other reasons apart from a "historic zoo".
Of course native peoples today present themselves as they wish, and they have a vast range of semiotic markers to choose from.
When the San people in SA agitated for land rights they toured around in loin cloths (although the skins were made of goatskin, rather than hunted
animals). When Native Amricans protested as far back as the 1950s they wore feathers and tribal costumes to picket the stock-exchange and other
clothes they no longer (or never) wore to great effect.
So culture is indeed in flux, and it was so before colonialism and remains so now. But, some point of Western imagination always seems to be
The Taino were colonized for a very long time, since 1492.
So their semiotic markers in the clips above seem like a mixture between various Latin American /Amazonian markers. Columbus described them as naked,
but here they seem to indulge in a number of styles that draw attention to their geographical and historical position.
[edit on 9-6-2010 by halfoldman]