There is an old saying, "What friend don"t know, won"t pains you." also often, it has actually been proven false.

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When the Brazilian nationwide Indian Protection service (the SPI, later changed to nationwide Indian structure - FUNAI) first began to market native Brazilian art and handicrafts in the late 1960s, one might have an alleged that that is motives to be to preserve Indians in isolation native the corrupting influences of the nation, and to persuade Brazilian and foreign tourists of the value of Indian people and their culture. The marketing that material culture kept tourists far from the ind by happen what the tourists wanted to airports, bus terminals, and other touristic spots. In this way, tourists and also Indians would certainly both acquire most the what they wanted from the various other - tourists can buy trinkets to take home and also Indians might use the proceeds to buy machetes, matches, sewing machines, or flashlights - without tourists pass diseases, new values, and disrespect or disruption to the life the the native peoples. What the indians wouldn"t know around Western culture therefore couldn"t pains them(1).


What has actually happened, however, is an additional story. Even this "indirect tourism" has developed some major long-term effects for the Indian peoples involved.

In the first place, the indians did no exist in a state the pristine peace and harmony, from which the tourists" intrusion would supposedly have wrenched them. By the so late 1960s, most of Brazil"s Indian peoples had already been in brutal, decimating contact with the national society for many years. The number of "pristine" tribes, naked and also alone in your beauty, i m sorry tourists might have endangered, to be proportionally tiny and in together isolated areas that the would have actually been highly unlikely the they would have actually been got to anyway. Furthermore, most isolated teams were quiet openly hostile to outsiders. They probably would have actually eliminated any type of tourists prior to such troubles arose.

Rather, through the 1960s, most of the Indian peoples of Brazil had actually been decreased greatly in numbers through conquest and disease, and also lived in locations of moderate access from which lock regularly emerged to offer their job for a pittance in bespeak to obtain manufactured products which they reputed necessities. They were malnourished and exploited and also generally laughed at rather than admired by their Brazilian neighbors. Instead of pristine splendor, they lived (and tho live) in poverty and desperation, ill-health and also exploitation. This is what the SPI/FUNAI would "protect;" this is what the tourist would have seen but which the SPI/FUNAI may not have actually wished them come see. This plan of "indirect tourism" served mostly to protect, no the ind from the tourists nor the tourist from the Indians, yet the SPI/FUNAI native a vital and informed national and international opinion which that would have proven difficult to refute. Thus, national and also international voices in favor of the Indian can constantly be labeled uninformed, the truth must constantly rest with the SPI/FUNAI, and what anybody rather doesn"t recognize won"t hurt them.


Secondly, it could not be assumed that regulating contact between Indians and also tourists would remove or even ameliorate the communication of Indian and also Western cultures. ~ all, tourist are only one resource of contact with western culture. The SPI/FUNAI agents space others. Bordering colonists and farmers, passing truck drivers and also army or air pressure patrols, building and construction workers surveying or constructing brand-new highways and also dams, reporters, TV producers and actors, visiting dignitaries, and Indian individuals who themselves seek the exterior world, regularly for work, room all agents for the transmission of cultural patterns and values, ideas and also objects. Provided the truth that tourists room usually better educated, wealthier and a more articulate segment the the population, they might have been seen more as a useful automobile for the communication of the Indian situation to the outside human being than as a unique dangerous source of contamination to Indians. Certainly, if the SPI/FUNAI want to reduce the contaminating effects of the Western world upon native peoples, they could have found more important sources to assault than tourists. This is no to say the the tourist should have actually been left to communicate with the indians at will, simply that together a category of influence, castle were not the most necessary then, nor would they most likely be the most important now (although, in Xingu national Park, they could have end up being a nuisance).


Lastly, most of the Indian individuals in question were not interested in creating solely for the SPI/FUNAI market. Other avenues were open to them. Part tourists regulated to discover even far reservations; various other Indian locations were close come metropolitan locations or significant transportation routes, making it simple for the indians to walk to the "tourists" or because that the tourists to involved them, staying clear of SPI/FUNAI commerce regulations. Due to the fact that the SPI/FUNAI need was limited, the appearance of any added trading possibilities might only be seen by the Indians together an expansion of one already an excellent thing: they might unload excess craftwork or objects of exceptional or worse quality and obtain items which to be unobtainable from the SPI/FUNAI. The SPI/FUNAI industry was topic to commonly seasonal variations. For these reasons, Indian peoples frequently circumvented the SPI/FUNAI plan and made various other tourist contacts. What the SPI/FUNAI didn"t understand wouldn"t hurt it.

Thus, regardless of government policy, cultural change and also tourists have influenced the Indians. Outsiders other than tourists have brought brand-new diseases. The commercialization the Indian crafts has advanced individualization of the society ethic (benefits space shared less often, leading to cultivation differences in material and also social place within previously egalitarian groups). Political dependency on the SPI/FUNAI has altered political company within many Indian groups, with those that speak Portuguese best, or who best cater come the SPI/FUNAI"s demands, displacing traditional leadership. Many Indian teams have been broke up physically, your lands bring away (often through the help of the SPI/FUNAI) and also members enticed to look for employment from local farmers or in far-away cities. Indian religions have actually been under siege through missionaries, the Brazilian value system and also the failure of classic religions to secure redress from the numerous problems your members face. Also the SPI/FUNAI"s standardization that arts and also crafts has affected cultural development, together its concepts of what will sell conflict with the means that items have "traditionally" been made. In every one of these areas, therefore, grave questions arise about the Brazilian Indians" cultural survival.

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The SPI/FUNAI plan of "indirect tourism" definitely has not fixed this problem. Once again, as with most the its policies, the Indians are not enabled to decision their own destinies, to take part in the decisions affecting their present and also future well-being. The SPI/FUNAI intrudes right into every aspect of Indian life native which part financial or political benefit may be wrung - very first it "regulated" (i.e., received compensation for) Indian labor for outsiders and the sale of Indian sources such as timber, farm products, or power sources; it regulates the revenue of Indian artifacts and also retains a high percent of the profits. All, that course, supposedly because that the advantage of the Indian people; all, by law, for their very own good. After all these year (the SPI was established in the early 1900s), after all this regulation and after all this issue for the great of the Indian, why perform the Indians have less soil on which come live, less food to eat, much more internal conflict and also disruption, much more social disorganization and also anomie?

The regulate of Indian-tourist interaction is just one item in the total photo of control which the Brazilian federal government has effected over the Indians. Ultimately, the survival of Indian cultures in Brazil will count on the degree that lock can complimentary themselves indigenous the strangulation the this all-pervasive, extraterrestrial bureaucracy, committed to do them into something various other than what lock themselves may want come be. The services to the ind of regulating Indian-tourist interaction in Brazil have actually been relatively few. For many Indian groups, its expenses have certainly outweighed them. But, again, that is usual of the Brazilian Indian story. Don"t allow the tourists discover out; lock think they room helping the Indians. But, ~ all, what they don"t know won"t pains them.