Mar 20 discussion - uncontacted tribes

This past week, representatives from all of Earth’s major uncontacted tribes gathered in Pasadena, California, for the first ever Earth and Earth-Adjacent Uncontacted Peoples’ Networking Forum. At first, many GPS coordinates were exchanged and spirits ran high. However, as a profound silence settled over the room from the fact that no living person could possibly translate between any two languages in use at the conference, plans for establishing written languages and Unicode support began to feature prominently in the thoughts of attendees. Discussions were generally kept brief and mostly limited to threatening hand gestures, while participants were constantly moved around the room in the hope that the emergence of nascent feelings of territoriality might be averted until after lunch. Metal detectors at all entrances were retrofitted into wood detectors and all bows and/or arrows were confiscated upon sight.

While the work of organizing a group of mutually hostile and mutually unintelligible hunter-gatherers might seem as difficult as mammoth-herding, real progress was made! The bright spot of the conference came when the delegates all decided to express their feelings to the wider world via the cooler of the world’s two universal languages, music. (Upon unanimous consent at the conference, it was resolved that the world’s other universal language, math, is not in fact, universal. Starting with a slightly melancholy track from a hard-rocking group, this unprecedented agglomeration of isolated and transiently-unarmed peoples from across the globe came together (with the help of a songwriting artificial neural network*) to express the deep existential peculiarities of their world. A transcript follows.

Melody link


I’m all lost on Sentinel Island,

But I can still fish happily.

We came here for that abstract notion:

Guaranteed Sovereignty!

We have a dense forest on this island

Into which satellites can’t see

Our census count: “indeterminate”

And influenced by tsunami.

We murdered John Allen Chau

to not end up like the Onge.

We aren’t shy, so much as aggressive.

If literate, we’d write “Don’t bother me!”

I’m all lost in Brazil’s rainforest.

I can no longer hunt happily.

We migrated for that abstract notion:

Guaranteed Sovereignty!

*The conference participants wanted the neural net to express their feelings further, but we couldn’t get enough compute time to train it properly (it just kept spitting out slight variations on “Total Eclipse of the Heart”), so we stopped here.

Everyone who could speak English at the conference (meaning none of the intended participants) spent most of their time discussing this article from Foreign Policy, as we too shall do at Sovereignty Lounge, BBB B101 this Wednesday 6pm:

The Right to Kill: Should Brazil keep its Amazon tribes from taking the lives of their children?

These complete nerds pondered the issues it raised, such as what moral standards (if any) the larger world should place upon uncontacted tribes and, in general, what the most ethical way is to interact with people whose defining feature is precisely their lack of interaction with you. Swirling around those philosophical black holes were questions regarding the economic expediency of maintaining uncontacted tribes on reservations, and worries of unwittingly inflicting genocide upon them via disease, vice, or demoralization.

Yours truly,

Mr. Bannon, Secretary (of State)

PS: Exceptionally this week we may try to restrict the bullshit to 20 minutes, as we’d also like to spend a few words on the Sovereignty trip idea being floated around and fleshed out by Raj to the suitably named Rajasthan (land of Rajs if my translation is correct).