Before They Pass Away. Photographer Jimmy Nelson traveled around the earth to try and document the world’s most secluded tribes.
"Before they pass away" what the fuck
^If I remember correctly, this person was photographing secluded tribes whose populations and cultures have dwindled to the point that the tribe is expected to die off or fully assimilate in the next few decades. Thus the title.
It’s kind of weird to me, because it implies that they can only keep their culture if they continue living isolated and away from healthcare and stuff - like they gotta be preserved like that and aren’t really people? That it’s not possible for them to have a healthcard and a credit card AND keep their beliefs and traditions?
I think the problem is that while it’s totally possible cultures do still die off. By that I mean a culture group either totally failing to maintain their population until no one’s left or the descendants of a group no longer knowing the language, stories, beliefs, customs, traditions, rituals, artistic styles, etc. that were associated with their culture.
I think the purpose of these photos was to photograph these people who ARE secluded but whose populations are dwindling so they and their cultural heritage won’t be forgotten if they cannot maintain their population or if their descendants abandon their traditions. That they’re secluded is pointed out only because few photos of them exist. The point is that those outside their group without these photos might never have known these people exist or in the future existed. And they’re dying out because they’re not reproducing fast enough or people are abandoning the group.
The thing is though a lot of those groups who practically disappeared were forced to it, being the Natives in North America and the Mayans and the Aztecs. Members of the groups still exist but their heritage was wiped out or went through attempted erasure by invaders, so lots is missing. The cultures and languages of these groups shown here don’t have to ‘pass away’ if they’re recorded first. Re: ‘Assimilated’, they can still have their beliefs and an apartment. It’s just weird that it’s being implied that they’re gone forever if they stop living secluded.
Sorry this is going to be lengthy.
First of all, I’m really not referring to the Mayans, Aztecs, or most Native Americans. None of these groups have disappeared. Their languages and traditions have greatly continued through their descendants into the present day.
What I am talking about is the modern disappearance of languages and threatening of tribal groups not due to colonialism but due to “globalization.”
"By 2100, more than half of the more than 7,000 languages spoken on Earth—many of them not yet recorded—may disappear, taking with them a wealth of knowledge about history, culture, the natural environment, and the human brain…
Language defines a culture, through the people who speak it and what it allows speakers to say. Words that describe a particular cultural practice or idea may not translate precisely into another language. Many endangered languages have rich oral cultures with stories, songs, and histories passed on to younger generations, but no written forms. With the extinction of a language, an entire culture is lost.
Much of what humans know about nature is encoded only in oral languages. Indigenous groups that have interacted closely with the natural world for thousands of years often have profound insights into local lands, plants, animals, and ecosystems—many still undocumented by science. Studying indigenous languages therefore benefits environmental understanding and conservation efforts…
Throughout human history, the languages of powerful groups have spread while the languages of smaller cultures have become extinct…
As big languages spread, children whose parents speak a small language often grow up learning the dominant language. Depending on attitudes toward the ancestral language, those children or their children may never learn the smaller language, or they may forget it as it falls out of use. This has occurred throughout human history, but the rate of language disappearance has accelerated dramatically in recent years.” (Source)
As an example, this is why Norse is no longer really spoken in the British Isles despite a massive invasion of Norsemen about a millenia ago. While a few place names in the UK and Ireland and a few terms (Thursday, for instance) remained of the language, most descendants of the Norse grew up predominantly speaking English like their neighbors, and in many cases like their mothers as the primarily male Norse Vikings tended to take brides and mistresses from the area they conquered rather than bringing women from home. Intermarriage helped increase total assimilation and loss of the Norse language and traditions, and that’s something that is happening to many threatened tribal groups around the world whose children increasingly are leaving the group due to hardship and making lives for themselves and starting families away from their community. Even if they keep their own language and traditions, their children increasingly do not.
Second, the people you listed were not small groups. The Mayans are a large population of people living in the Yucatan Valley of Mexico. The Aztecs were a massive empire that spread over most of Central Mexico. And the Native Americans were many, many tribes some of which were quite massive spread over an entire continent. Even attempts at forced assimilation and erasure did not completely eliminate these groups. Especially in Mexico where the Native population continued to greatly outnumber the Spanish. But that’s not the case with small marginalized groups that are being decimated today.
Let’s talk about a recent group elsewhere in the world though which was what I was more thinking of.
"For about 65,000 years Bo culture and language existed in the Great Andaman region of India. The tribe, culture and language associated with Bo became extinct in 2010 when its last surviving member, Boa Senior died." (Source)
The problem with the Bo was as follows:
"Boa’s loss is a bleak reminder that we must not allow this to happen to the other tribes of the Andaman islands," Survival director Stephen Corry said in the statement. Andaman and Nicobar Islands authorities put at least five tribes in their list of vulnerable indigenous communities.
According to Corry’s group, the surviving Great Andamanese depend largely on the Indian government for food and shelter and abuse of alcohol is rife.” (Source)
What about the Akuntsu?
"Cattle ranching has destroyed nearly all the Akuntsu’s land. Of all the tribal peoples wiped out for standing in the way of ‘progress’, few are as poignant as the Akuntsu. Their fate is all the more tragic for being so recent.
No-one speaks their language, so the precise details of what happened to them may never be known. But when agents of Brazil’s Indian affairs department FUNAI contacted them in 1995, they found that the cattle ranchers who had taken over the Indians’ land had massacred almost all the tribe, and bulldozed their houses to try to cover up the massacre.
Just five Akuntsu survive. One of the men, Pupak, has lead shot still buried in his back, and mimes the gunmen who pursued him on horseback. He and his small band of survivors now live alone in a fragment of forest – all that remains of their land, and their people.” (Source)
Okay, so now let’s talk about why their isolation was brought up. A group can continue without seclusion, however, seclusion was mentioned because isolated tribal groups are some of the most threatened groups in the world. Here’s why:
"Introduced diseases are the biggest killer of isolated tribal people, who have not developed immunity to viruses such as influenza, measles and chicken pox that most other societies have been in contact with for hundreds of years…
Christian missionaries, who have been making first contact with tribes for five hundred years, are still trying to do so today. Often believing that the tribes are ‘primitive’ and living pitiful lives ‘in the dark’, the missionaries’ ultimate aim is to convert them to Christianity – at whatever cost to the tribal peoples’ own health and wishes…
Members of the New Tribes Mission, a fundamentalist missionary organisation based in the US, carried out a clandestine mission to make contact with the Zo’é of Brazil to convert them to Christianity. Between 1982 and 1985 the missionaries flew over the Zo’é’s villages dropping gifts. They then built a mission station only several days’ walk from the Indians’ villages. Following their first real contact in 1987, 45 Zo’é died from epidemics of flu, malaria and respiratory diseases transmitted by the missionaries.
The New Tribes Mission was totally unprepared and did not provide proper medical care to the Zo’é. Their policy to sedentarise the Zo’é around the mission meant disease spread rapidly, and the Indians’ diet suffered because the game they hunted became scarce due to the concentration of Indians in one area. As the Zo’é’s health suffered, they began to lose their self-sufficiency, and became dependent on the missionaries for everything. In response, the government expelled the missionaries in 1991. Since the Zo’é have been left in peace and now receive proper medical care, their population is increasing…
The Awá are one of the few remaining nomadic hunter-gatherer tribes in Brazil. Their home is in the devastated forests of the eastern Amazon. Today they are hemmed in by massive agro-industrial projects, cattle ranches and colonist settlements. To’o, an Awá man, explains how colonisation is destroying their land and way of life:
‘If the Awá Indians have to leave their land, it will be very difficult. We can’t live anywhere else because here there are forest fruits and wild animals. We couldn’t survive without forest because we don’t know how to live like white people who can survive in deforested areas. For years we have been fleeing up these rivers, with the whites chasing us, cutting down all our forest.
‘In the old days there were lots of howler monkeys and deer but today there’s very little left, because the forest has been chopped down. The colonists round here make things difficult for us because they hunt game too…
‘Every day as the white population by our reserve increases so do diseases like malaria and flu, and we have to share the game with the settlers. They have guns, so they kill more game than us. We are very worried about the lack of game and being able to feed our children in the future.’…
Many areas inhabited by uncontacted tribes are being invaded illegally by loggers. Their presence often brings them into contact with the tribal people; many have died from diseases introduced by the loggers, or even been killed by them.
The Murunahua were decimated by contact with loggers and, if nothing is done to stop the invasions, the same fate awaits the Mashco-Piro tribe. ‘The loggers arrived and they drove the Mashco-Piro further upriver, towards the headwaters,’ said one indigenous man who has seen the Mashco-Piro more than once. ‘The loggers have seen them on the beaches, their camps, their footprints. The loggers always want to kill them and they have done.’…
In 1970 the Panará people of Brazil numbered between 350 and 400 people, and lived in five villages, which were laid out with complex geometric designs and surrounded by huge gardens.
A major highway was bulldozed through their land in the early 1970s. It quickly proved disastrous. Road builders enticed Indians out of the forest with alcohol and prostituted some women. Soon waves of epidemics swept through the tribe and 186 Panará died. In an emergency operation, the survivors were airlifted to the Xingu Park, where yet more died. Soon there were only 69 Panará left. More than four fifths of the tribe had been killed in just eight years…
The Jarawa tribe of the Andaman islands saw their land split in two when the islands administration built a highway through their territory. It is now the principal road through the islands. There is not only a constant stream of settlers travelling in buses and taxis, but the road acts as a conduit for tourists, and for poachers targeting the Jarawa’s reserve (which, unlike the rest of the islands, is still covered in rainforest). Jarawa children are often seen by the side of the road, and there is some evidence of the sexual exploitation of Jarawa women.” (Source)
This is what the photo is referring to. Secluded groups are increasingly endanger of extinction because mistreatment of tribal people continues to this day and because their way of life is becoming increasingly difficult due to outside action that decreases their land and economic opportunities. Marginalized tribal groups all over the world are losing their language, their culture, and their population and this photo set is trying to bring attention to these terribly threatened peoples.
These groups are unlikely to just move into an apartment and continue their current customs. They’re being rapidly annihilated and those that assimilate are losing the language and heritage.
One of the things that is really notable about Moscow and yet not many people outside Russia know about, is how gorgeous the Moscow metro is.
These photos? That’s what the metro stations look like.
They’re called the “People’s palaces of Moscow” or else “Underground palaces,” and they were built during the Soviet era on the Communist idea that art and beauty should belong to the people rather than only being available in the houses of nobles.
These photos show just some of the metro’s attractions. There are many more mosaics, statues, etc, placed throughout.
And the metro is always this clean.
In addition to being beautiful, it is incredibly functional. It gets you pretty much everywhere in Moscow, and the trains run at intervals of every three minutes or less. At peak times, they run every 90 seconds. You never have to worry about missing a train, because the next one will come almost immediately.
Not always of course. In the late evening or early morning hours, you may have to wait as long as five whole minutes for a train. They’re also super easy to navigate.
We Russians are pretty proud of our metro system.
Jazzberry est un artiste qui réalise un incroyable travail consistant à mélanger cartographie et art. Ainsi, il réalise une jolie série de cartes colorées et abstraites des plus grandes villes du monde, de Paris à New York en passant par Jérusalem.
Découvrez ses oeuvres sans plus attendre !