I spent the morning discussing an online multimedia project and some of the difficulties posed by technological lag in the developing world, then ran across this when I got back home. William Irwin Thomson once wrote that we imagine our societal past as a progression of discrete evolutionary stages moving from the simple to the complex, ignoring the fact that a broad range of societal complexity exists concurrently in the present.
The Brazilian government ministry that organized the flyover explained that it was trying to raise awareness about the need to protect these “uncontacted” tribes. I wonder if it will instead encourage the opposite reaction, although the fact that a band of hunter gatherers in a forest respond to an overhead helicopter not by cowering in fright but by brandishing their bows and arrows ought to deter all but the most gung ho anthropological thrillseekers. Question: Does flying over their village in a helicopter not count as contact?