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?”
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In the above quote a long term resident, Jose Miguel, remarks Huaoranis’ right to be among the agents of their own change. But was any consideration being given to the Huaorani? This question can be answered by simply looking at how the Huaorani once lived and how they live now. Kane goes on a trip with a member of the Huaorani tribe into the forest, as they are driving the author sees past the oil-soaked roads into low hills, and in the distance he sees an ‘arboreal quiltwork that looked to be four billion shades of green’(Kane 54) in response to the authors awe the Huao answers ‘abundancia’. The Huaorani show a respect and reverence for the land, which at times is hard for people to understand, everything they are comes from the spirit of the forest and the animals whom they live in perfect harmony with it. They do not own the land but rather share in its abundance. They value self-reliance; their culture revolves around food, ritual sharing, feasts and now famine. They believe in the notion of ‘abundancia’- of the forest as always providing- and that is why the preservation of their land is critical in their ability to survive. The oil companies, however, have made it quite difficult for the Huaorani to continue with the notion of abundancia. Forests had to be cleared in order for