Joe Kane, Savages Essay

1119 Words Sep 27th, 2013 5 Pages
Interactions between cultures, and their consequences

There have been many instances throughout history in which indigenous people have unwillingly suffered the consequences of foreigners’ interaction with their culture. In the case of the Huaorani two foreign groups, the oil companies and the missionaries, invaded their land and gravely affected the life they led in the Ecuadorian amazon. In the book Savages Joe Kane gives a firsthand account at how the Huaorani fight to preserve their land and traditional way of life.
‘’We live with the spirit of the jaguar. We do not want to be civilized by your missionaries or killed by your oil companies. Must the jaguar die so that you can have more contamination and television?”
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The land and forest provide everything to them; it is their home, it offers them protection from neighboring peoples, and an abundance of food. However things changed with the introduction of Christianity. I believe Rachel Saint to be a major component in the destruction of the Huaorani culture. She taught them that everything they had believed was wrong, nudity was wrong, shamanism was seen sorcery and therefore evil. Nomadism was seen as evil as well; ‘’the Lord’s way dictated that the Huaorani must settle down, build permanent villages and raise garden crops and barnyard animals” (Kane 86). The Huaorani were forced to forget ancient traditions, they no longer hunt with spears and blowguns but instead wait the arrival of planes that bring food to their community. The Huaorani who were once so self-sufficient are now forced to rely on foreigners for their next meal. Not only has the Huaorani culture been impacted but so has their health, many Huaorani suffered from diabetes due to the high amounts of processed sugar in ‘civilized’ food. The education that the missionaries provided eroded what little bit of their culture and traditions they maintained; the Huaorani were forced to change their way of life. ‘’Change is inevitable. The Huaorani cannot avoid change. The real question is, on what terms will change occur? The right the Huaorani have - a basic moral right that all people have - is to be

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