Joe Kane, Savages

Topics: Petroleum, Huaorani, Culture Pages: 3 (1122 words) Published: October 6, 2013

Interactions between cultures, and their consequences

There have been many instances throughout history in which indigenous people have unwillingly suffered the consequences of foreigners’ interaction with their culture. In the case of the Huaorani two foreign groups, the oil companies and the missionaries, invaded their land and gravely affected the life they led in the Ecuadorian amazon. In the book Savages Joe Kane gives a firsthand account at how the Huaorani fight to preserve their land and traditional way of life. ‘’We live with the spirit of the jaguar. We do not want to be civilized by your missionaries or killed by your oil companies. Must the jaguar die so that you can have more contamination and television?” (Kane 4) In this excerpt from a letter addressed to the President of the United States, it was clearly stated that the Huaorani did not want oil companies or missionaries to disrupt their way of life. It was more or less a plea to the United States government to stop the invasion of their land. This quote explains how the spirit of the Huaorani is connected to the land in which they inhabit. If the land is destroyed then their spirit is destroyed along with it. Unfortunately little attention was paid to how the Huaorani felt and many conflicts arose, beginning with the introduction of Christianity by the missionaries. In the mid-1900’s missionaries from the United States felt it was their responsibility to spread the word of God to countries and people whom they believed were less ‘civilized’. Rachel Saint was determined to spread the word of God and ‘save’ the Huaorani and lead them away from their life of savagery. Because of our cultural advancements we, as Americans, tend to compare other cultures to our own standards. Rachel is exemplary of the ethnocentricity that exists within our country. Those who do not fit the standards of our culture are seen as ‘primitive’ or ‘uncivilized’, but this ethnocentric thinking can...

Cited: Kane, Joe. Savages. New York: Knopf, 1995. Print
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