In a world exclusive we bring you an in depth interview with someone who is using Facebook to do more than just make friends. They’re using it to broaden our perspectives. Welcome to the Big Interview, with Noble Savage.
Interviewer: Who are you, Mr Savage, and how would you define yourself?
Noble Savage: First let me say thanks for the opportunity for this interview. I have recently found out that so much has been said about uncontacted Amazon tribes on the Internet over the last few years; but no one has yet asked me who I am, nor sought to hear from me. People on the Internet often call me Noble Savage. I am a hunter-gatherer. Myself, my family and my tribe live in the Amazon Rainforest, near Barcelos, Brazil, many kilometres away from any other humans. We like to eat Papaya and Manioc, and we live in sturdy huts built out of tree branches. We have lived like this for as long as I know.
Until recently, I have only needed to define myself in reference to people around me, and other tribes living similar lives to my own. I have always seen myself as normal. However, since I have found the Internet, I have seen that people around the world define me in very different ways, using ideas that I do not relate to. Therefore, I am much less certain about how I should define myself in reference to people far away.
Interviewer: Do you feel adequately represented by international organisations?
Noble Savage: Since I have been on the Internet, I have discovered that international organisations are speaking up for my people, and for the protection of the places where we live. They are running campaigns, raising money, and seeking to educate and motivate people for the protection of remote tribes.
I feel pleased that so many others are speaking up for me and my people, when we have not had a global voice in the past. And that people are also aware of the other problems we face, such as from logging, drugs gangs and other threats.
However, I am also worried about how this support will continue into the future, and whether it can include the voices of my people. I don’t know whether we can rely forever on voices on the other side of the world being our only defenders. I am also worried that we are only represented as primitive people, who must remain unchanged, deep within the forests, protected from everyone else who lives in the modern world. It seems to me that while many people represent my people’s interests well, others are more concerned with thinking of my people as a clean human slate upon which to discuss and project the pros and cons of modern civilisation, without ever asking us what we want.
Interviewer: What would you like to achieve politically in terms of communicating your message?
Noble Savage: One day, in the spring of the year you call 2008, me and some friends were carrying fruit through our village when a small buzzing silver thing appeared in the sky. Immediately we were scared and picked up our bows, knowing that we could never shoot that far. We watched it circle around and around, until finally it disappeared into the raining clouds. Now, I know it was a plane, and that this was the first time you outside people knew that I existed.
This was a moment of contact where we were made to feel powerless, even though we were only viewed at a distance. Since then lots of people have been talking about us and making decisions about our lives, without ever asking us.
In speaking on the Internet, I simply want to have my voice heard. I want people to know that I am also a human. I am happy that you people are interested in the lives of my tribe, and myself, but am also concerned for people to know that we are not simply a primitive tribe in opposition to modern society. This is what I first want my message to achieve.
Interviewer: Can people remain indigenous forever?
Noble Savage: I don’t know much about ideas of being ‘indigenous’. This is another one of those categories that people in other places seem to like to associate with my people.
If it means “can my people continue to live where they have done for centuries?”, then of course people can, and should be able to remain indigenous. But if it means, “can we remain unchanged and without contact with modernity into the future?”, then I think this term is much less useful.
Interviewer: How exactly did you find out about Facebook?
Noble Savage: One day I was hunting around in the brush and I found a shiny square silver thing. It lights up and I’ve learned that it picks up signals from the air. I think it’s called an iPad. I’ve been using it to find out about the world.
And one thing I know is that I want to have friends in the outside world. Friends! And I learned that the best way to make friends, according to my iPad, is to sign up for this Facebook. Facebook is wonderful. I can have as many friends as I want! If I am not a real person in your world, I am a real person online! I even have profile pictures.
Interviewer: Have you ever played FarmVille? I bet you must have a killer score.
Noble Savage: I was really surprised to find out that so many people play FarmVille. I could not believe it at first, that people want to spend their time growing virtual food. But I did have a go at it, although I did not really know what any of the animals and crops were. There was not any manioc either, which was disappointing.
If you would like to get in touch with Noble on Facebook, then click here to become his friend.