Seeing a lot of talk about the Sentinelese that (unintentionally!) reproduces some colonialist perspectives. They aren’t “Stone-age people,” they’re 21st-century people. People aren’t stuck in time because they don’t use the same technologies we do. We all live now.
They’re not unchanged for 60,000 years. They’ve adapted to changing dangers even in recent years, forced to live w/the outside world even just to keep it away. They don’t need to be frozen in time or pass a purity test to deserve respect. Just please stop with the Stone Age stuff
The Three-Age system for prehistory is helpful (within limits) for certain perspectives on Europe/the Mediterranean, but it’s not useful for much of the world. It’s a 19th-century framework based on assumptions of universal human paths to progress.
Our idea of “progress” is precisely why the Sentinelese are so vulnerable, so even if they don’t embrace the Capitalocene, they’re forced to coexist with it. If they were actually in the Stone Age, they wouldn’t be at risk from American missionaries, that’s for sure.
One thing it does when we think of people as Stone Age is we fail to see the many perfectly valid ways of living in the world. Their tech is modern because it’s what they use now. It’s not pre-modern because new tech is automatically better. That’s a product of the Capitalocene
I mean our way of living destroys indigenous knowledge and literally creates genocide, and sure it’s fascinating to think about people who live nothing like anyone else, but it’s not a window into the past. And in any case, we have no right to know about them bc that’s up to them
It’s also really important not to frame the protection of their space as paternalistic. Societies are always complex and sophisticated, but colonizer mindsets mean we often infantilize and dehumanize cultures that seem “closer to nature”
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