Omo Valley Tribespeople Live as Their Ancestors Did (Except with Lots of AK-47s)


Photo: Brent Stirton

In 2007, photojournalist Brent Stirton went to the Omo River Valley in Ethiopia to document the life of people of remote tribal groups that continue to live as their ancestors did hundreds of years ago. Except that they have AK-47. Plenty of AK-47s:

In the sprawling, desolate Southern Omo River Valley region of Ethiopia are several tribes living as they have for centuries, in voluntary isolation from the modern world. Recently, however, the tribes -- Dassanech, Mursi, Hamar, Karo, Bume, Beshadar and others -- are under increasing pressure from the outside world. Most recent is the Omo River dam project to provide hydroelectric power to Ethiopia’s capital, Addis Ababa. This will reduce the river to one-fifth its size and eliminate the flood plain so valuable to Omo Valley tribal farmers. The geographically distant government in Addis Ababa appears to place little importance on the threat to these unique Omo Valley cultures, and the days of their existence as intact cultures are numbered. [...]

Outsiders are regarded as a source of money, AK47s are everywhere and people are aggressive in their pursuit of cash for photographs. It’s sad really, for the people of the region have a limited idea of what money can buy but already have a taste for it. As money acquires more value in their society, it will eat away all that makes their society unique.

Brent's photo gallery make for a very interesting visit: Link (warning: some indigenous tribes nudity) - via CreativeRoots | Brent's blog Photo Journeys at Discovery Channel


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Wow! "Sure, their society will be less unique.

They’ll also have proper nutrition, lower infant mortality, freedom from polio, and a whole lot of other things that the co-ordination of the modern world (brought about in part by money) has given us.

It’s a change my family made. We like it.

Sure, the Stuff White People Like (TM) crowd won’t be able to coo at them and say “aww, look at all those authentic minorities!” - but that’s a small price to pay for giving these tribesmen a life without smallpox."

THIS is QFT. scratch my previous comment.
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I love this quote: "It’s sad really, for the people of the region have a limited idea of what money can buy but already have a taste for it. As money acquires more value in their society, it will eat away all that makes their society unique."

QFT.
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Then again its only people who have lots and lots to eat and a house and a car and air conditioning and stuff who worry about other people keeping their society 'unique'....

We're only 3 or 4 generations away from a time when EVERYONE scrambled 16 hours a day 7 days a week to eat by scratching in the dirt or hunting in the forest with lifespans that rarely exceeded 35 or 40 years.

...we forget that a lot....
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